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14 Ways to Create Your Own Happiness at Work (Even if You Don’t Like Your Job)

Being unhappy with your job doesn't mean you can't feel happy every day.

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One of the biggest influences on a business and its employees is a positive attitude. Leaders who have a positive mindset and are pleasant to be around get the most out of their peers and employees. A happy attitude is infectious, and when workers are in a good mood, they yield good results.

But if you aren’t where you want to be in your career or you’re unhappy at work, getting to that frame of mind consistently can be difficult. Below, 14 members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss the ways professionals can keep a positive attitude and take charge of their own happiness at work—even if they’re not in love with their job.

1. Choose to Avoid Negativity

One way to keep a positive attitude at work even if you’re not very fond of your job is to choose to avoid negativity. You can control a large amount of your happiness when you choose not to let negative vibes affect you. To do this: 1) set clear goals at work, 2) eliminate distraction, 3) fully involve your skills and 4) focus on the process and not always on the end state.

Shu Saito, All Filters

2. Suggest a Project to Your Boss

When you’re feeling unhappy or uninspired with your work, take some initiative and suggest a project you’d like to work on to your manager or boss. If they like it, you’ll get to do something you enjoy more while benefiting your company. Pursue projects you’re interested in and communicate with your managers about what you’d like to do. They’ll appreciate your ambition.

Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.

3. Connect With Colleagues

You can improve your level of happiness at work by building positive, healthy relationships with your colleagues. The main reason why people leave a job is that they’re unhappy with their managers or other employees. But if you get along with your team, it creates a warm, inviting environment that you don’t mind being part of every day.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

4. Get Some Outside Help

Identify the causes and possible solutions. It can help immensely to work with a career coach or mentor who can help you identify where you are, where you want to be and what’s holding you back. You don’t have to figure it out on your own. There are people who are trained to help others find career success and happiness, so leverage their expertise.

Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com

5. Look for Elements of Your Job That Make You Happy

If you’re not happy about your job, find things about it that do make you happy. Look at the positive side of your job. Maybe think about the perks it offers, the friends you made, the milestones you have achieved, etc. Just think about anything about it that offers a happy feeling. Doing so can quickly lift your spirits and motivate you to continue doing what you’re doing.

Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

6. Go Above and Beyond

For me, satisfaction comes when I overcome obstacles and go above and beyond for my team. I know that sometimes the circumstances around a job are far from great. However, if you can focus on the people whom you’re helping and the progress of your assignment, you’ll have a more positive attitude throughout the day.

John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

7. Check Your Mindset

Look for the good. If you’re constantly thinking about what makes you unhappy, you will start to see evidence all around you that affirms those thoughts. However, on the flip side, if you are looking for the good and seeing what you’re grateful for, you will start to see those things around you instead! Mindset is powerful. 

Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

8. Practice Gratitude

Search for things to be thankful for daily. We tend to forget the things that other people do for us when we get caught up in the daily events that happen in the world. Sincerely thanking someone for their hard work is appreciated even more in this time of distance and isolation. 

Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

9. Offer Your Help to Colleagues

Try to branch out and work on projects outside your normal purview. Chances are that someone in your company could use a little extra help. There’s a twofold benefit to this approach: It shakes up the routine that has been getting you down and helping others often provides an immediate sense of satisfaction. Plus, if your supervisor sees you going above and beyond, you may be rewarded for your effort.

Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com

10. Understand Your Goals

Understanding your goals is critical to your own happiness. If you have a set of goals and are constantly working toward them, it will not matter if you are not 100% satisfied with your current position because you know you are working toward your ultimate goal.

Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

11. Focus on the Positives

Just about every job has some positive qualities. This may include connections you make, skills you hone and seeing how the industry operates. At the very least, a less-than-ideal job is a way to earn a steady income while you search for something you prefer. Remember that even what you think of as your dream job will have imperfections. Focusing on the positive helps you in all areas of life. 

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

12. Remember How You’ve Progressed

Compare yourself to who you were a year ago, five years ago or even a decade ago. It’s never a good idea to measure yourself against other people’s successes. You can, however, judge yourself against your former self. If there’s growth between who you are now and who you were yesterday, last week or last month, then that’s progress worth celebrating and being happy about.

Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

13. Identify What You Can Control

Know what you can control and, from there, know how to react. Don’t be personal at work and don’t invest too much emotion; just work hard and remove unnecessary expectations that aren’t related to work. Do your best knowing that you love what you do, and refrain from being personal and comparing yourself to others. Expect less, work with more passion. Choose joy and peace above all else.

Daisy Jing, Banish

14. Know That You Dictate Your Happiness

The sooner you realize that no one is in charge of your happiness but you, the better. You may not be happy with your job—plenty of people feel the same way. Instead of letting the feelings of negativity define you, look for the positive things in your office and life.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

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