Does your office feel like the Mad Hatter’s tea party? Do you have a tyrannical boss who marches around shouting “Off with their heads!”? Do you share an office with Tweedle-Dee and that other guy?
What if I told you that you could take everything you hate about your job and shrink it to insignificance and take everything you love about your job and make it grow larger than life? It may sound like a fairy tale, but you can turn a job that you loathe into one that you love. It’s all about what you see when you peer through the looking glass.
Alice’s transformations may have been make-believe, but there is real-world magic you can use to create genuine happiness at work and in life. The secret lies in understanding that your attention, your beliefs, and your behavior create your reality. Change your outlook and you change your world.
Here are some suggestions on how to take your job from wasteland to wonderland.
Get Off The Complain Train:
The temptation to whinge about a job you hate is a bit like scratching a rash. It feels good at the time, but ultimately it makes the situation worse. Complaining is a choice that becomes a habit. But luckily, so is happiness. You get to choose which habit you strengthen.
Tip: Interrupt the habit of complaining. Mentally stop yourself and recognize, “I’m on the Complain Train.” Then actively give your attention to something healthier. It’s a simple strategy that has real power to change.
Negotiate Your Terms:
Your happiness is about way more than just a bigger bankroll, so when it’s time to negotiate, think beyond money. What would make your job a better fit for you? Flexible work hours? New job description? More vacation time? Subsidized education? Or even just a slightly longer lunch break? Get creative and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. You’ll never get it unless you do, and the worst they can say is no.
Tip: Make it easy for your boss to say yes. Prepare your pitch so your boss can see how what you’re asking for will benefit, not just you, but the business too.
Reboot Your Commute:
Rather than spending your commute time wishing you were somewhere (anywhere!) else, reclaim that time. What would make your commute easier? How could you be more comfortable? What would make it time you look forward to? Enjoy your commute and you can look forward to going to work.
Tip: Use that time to daydream about your upcoming trip to Paris. Pop in a Learn French While You Languish CD and brush up on some useful phrases. “Garçon, un autre verre de vin, si vous plait!”
Personalize Your Space:
What we see, smell, hear, and feel directly impacts how happy we are. So spruce up your cubicle! Consider every sense. Tack up a picture from your last vacation. Put a plant on your desk. Listen to your favorite music. Have a variety of teas available to tickle your taste buds.
Tip: If you don’t have a dedicated workspace, keep a personal happiness talisman in your pocket. Something you will come across multiple times a day that makes you happy, such as a rock from your favorite beach.
Frequent, short breaks have been shown to boost employee happiness as well as productivity Go outside, stretch, or just take five minutes away from your desk at least once an hour. When you come back, you’ll feel more grounded and may even gain a fresh perspective on the task at hand.
Tip: Drink lots of water. It’s good for you and it’s a built-in, biological break reminder. J
My clients tell me what they enjoy most about their work are the people they work with. Put some effort into building and maintaining those relationships.
Tip: Starting a Lunch Club is a great way to bond with your cubicle mates. Once a week one person takes a turn providing a homemade lunch for the group. Think salads in the summer and hearty soups in the winter. It’s fun, cheap and healthy!
These tips will only make you happier at work if you truly want to be. Choose to be happy by focusing on the people, events and items that bring a little light into your day. If you’re only focusing on what makes you unhappy, you will be! Remember, you have the power to create your own reality. Go ask Alice, when she’s 10 feel tall.
Tip: When you share a laugh with a co-worker, receive a compliment for a job well done, or score a sweet pair of prescription sunnies through your benefits plan, take a moment to appreciate it. Say a mental ‘thank you’ for the good stuff, and you’ll start to see more and more of it.