Here’s how to find happiness again at your job


Happiness has become an elusive emotional state for many Americans with those feeling very happy plunging during the pandemic and the share of those feeling not too happy surging, according to recent data.

That discontent has been playing out in the workplace for months now.

Last summer, almost half of U.S. employees were actively job searching or watching for job opportunities, according to Gallup. And by December, a record number of Americans left their jobs voluntarily, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Beverly Jones, a Washington, D.C.-based executive career coach and author of the newly released “Find Your Happy at Work,” offered her advice on how to find greater happiness at work even if you don’t switch jobs. Here are the highlights from that conversation with Yahoo Money:

Beverly Jones, a Washington, D.C.-based executive career coach and author of newly released “Find Your Happy at Work,” offered her advice on how to find greater happiness at work
Beverly Jones, a Washington, D.C.-based executive career coach and author of newly released “Find Your Happy at Work,” offered her advice on how to find greater happiness at work. (Photo: Getty Creative)

Kerry Hannon: Maybe the grass is not always greener on the other side. Are there things someone can do to get excited about work again?

Beverly Jones: Start by putting yourself in touch with why you work. It might be because you love the mission of the company, but it could also be that you are staying in this job because they have wonderful health insurance, and your special needs kid is taken care of. That is a huge purpose.

How does thinking like an entrepreneur help?

People who do well in traditional organizations often have the same attributes as the people who succeed as entrepreneurs. Being entrepreneurial means taking responsibility, allowing yourself to try new things, and giving yourself permission to fail. If one thing doesn't work, you just take it as learning and are open to advise.

One way to be entrepreneurial inside a company is to figure out what needs to be done and figure out how you can do it. You don't have to be an expert. You just have to know a little bit more than the people around you. When you volunteer to take on something new, it ramps up your adrenaline and engages you. You might even be a little scared. That's a good thing when you are feeling stuck or bored, or unhappy.

Book jacket
Book jacket

What is some of the bad advice we give ourselves that makes us feel stuck in a loop?

That you're not good enough. You don't have what it takes. This is too dangerous. You don’t have the experience. All those kinds of discouraging words may come to you because you've been burned in the past, and you've learned to be careful. Say something more positive to yourself. Give yourself the advice that you'd give to a friend that you know is capable but needs some support.

Or you tell yourself to grind it, work harder. That’s terrible advice to tell yourself. Our brains, our bodies work better if we do sprints, not marathons.

The best advice to give yourself is: I'm going to take a break. I'm going to put breaks on my calendar, make appointments with myself to take a walk outside, or a run. That can help re-energize your creativity and help you go forward. There's something about nature, even a park in the middle of your city, that is really good for inspiration and motivation.

Smiling African-American guy takes notes watching webinars on the laptop,researching business tasks, a male student is studying online, listening video lectures, writes down, e-learning concept
Find a way to learn something new, and you'll have a little burst of excitement. Photo Credit: Getty Images

How does learning something new jumpstart how we feel about our work?

Learning is very gratifying, and it's an essential part of loving your job. Anytime you’re feeling stuck, if you can find a way to learn something new, you'll have a little burst of excitement.

And if you build a learning habit into the way you approach work, and you make it part of your work life, you'll have opportunities to make new connections and get fresh ideas. If you have a commitment to learning, you'll build your skills and expertise, and that makes your job exciting again.

Then too, when you’re in learning mode, you notice new things. Life is more interesting, and you bring an entirely different way of approaching everything you do. You can even stimulate that learning mode by spending time learning something new with a hobby, or something you particularly enjoy. That is going to help you at work, too.

Any parting words on how someone who feels like shoving their job can find ways to be happier in their work right now?

Journaling is a great way if you're uncertain about whether you want to stay in your current job. Get in the habit of 10 minutes a day writing about what's going on at work, how you feel about it, what your goals are, what are the things you don't like about your job. What are the things that you do enjoy? What are the ways you could start making those things better?

You’re getting worries that are running through your head out, and that release is important. It can ease a building resentment. If you start writing, you begin to understand the situation more clearly and can come up with specific things you want to research. That will help you make an informed decision about whether the things that you want in a shift are actually available where you are right now with a lot less stress and potential risk that comes when you resign.

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