With the month of Valentine’s Day upon us, we take this time to celebrate and reflect on the relationships that hold importance in our lives. One that is often overlooked—yet one of the most important—is your relationship with your job.
Over a 50-year working life, typical workers will spend an estimated 35% of their waking hours at work. While loving your job may seem like a luxury, spending about a third of your life feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled will adversely affect your overall quality of life. Here are some tips to help you fall more in love with your job.
1. Recognize your purpose
Research has made a correlation between having a sense of purpose and experiencing feelings of happiness. Every employee serves a purpose in the company, and even tasks that seem menial fulfill a need in the organization. Realizing the role you play and value you have in your office can help you escape the “paycheck mentality”—the mindset of completing duties solely for compensation. Building your own sense of purpose and mindfully practicing this way of thinking can help you embrace this outlook. One way you can practice feeling purpose is thinking of your work as a service to others. By consciously connecting everyday tasks to the results they yield and people they serve, you can begin to feel the weight of your work and the impact it makes on the world around you.
2. Take initiative in your own professional development
In TINYPulse’s 2017 Employee Engagement Report, professional development tops the list of things employees love about their jobs, but only 26% of those surveyed felt that their organization provides adequate support for their professional growth. Fortunately, you can bolster your own professional development regardless of the services your employer offers.
Feeling capable in your position can contribute to your satisfaction with your job. No matter your title, you can always improve yourself as an employee—whether it’s strengthening your existing skills or developing new ones. One way is to stay up to date in your field. We are living in a fast-paced and competitive world where industries are often changing to fit the demands of society. Keeping yourself updated on these developments can inspire new ways of working and set you ahead of the curve. Having an industry-wide scope can also help you feel more engaged in and connected to your job.
Autonomy also been linked to feeling content in the workplace. If you have a particular interest or skill that your current position doesn’t address, don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor for projects that are relevant to your abilities and passions. This will not only help you craft a job you actually love, but will also make you feel in control of your experience.
3. Work-life balance
In the end, your job isn’t everything. Part of being happy and successful in your work requires having a fulfilling life outside of it. The 2017 World Happiness Report found the citizens of Norway to be the happiest in the world, a title credited in part to factors like social relationships and freedom. Prioritize your personal life by investing time and energy in your relationships and interests outside of work. To do this, set clear boundaries for your work life and personal life, and try your best to avoid blurring these lines. In our increasingly connected world, don’t let technology dictate your schedule. Designate a strict “clock out” time when you relieve yourself of work responsibilities for the day, whether by turning off notifications for work emails on your phone or just by being firm with yourself. That way, you can be present in the moments you spend relaxing alone or enjoying the company of friends and loved ones.
Happy workers, happy boss
A recent Gallup study on the state of the American workplace found that 51% of employees are not engaged at work and do not perform to their potential. Other studies have shown that the level of satisfaction employees experience at their jobs is directly correlated with the company’s productivity, retention, quality of service, and profitability.
These findings have led to more and more companies that invest in their employees’ happiness by offering opportunities for perks like flextime, telecommuting, and career development—because when you’re happy, your boss is too.