A lot of us love our jobs — at first. But as time goes on, it’s natural to be less and less happy.
“Performing the same tasks repeatedly can become boring and too routine, or an increased workload can affect job satisfaction, causing too much stress and burn out,” explains career coach Hallie Crawford. But that doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t seek happiness at the office.
“Happiness is essential to your overall sense of fulfillment and well-being in life,” Crawford says. As she explains, “Because our careers are such a big part of our lives — and we spend a lot of hours at work — it’s important that we enjoy what we do” and how we’re doing it, too.
Here are six ways to stay happy at work, both at the start, and as the years (and years) go by.
1. Switch Things Up
You may have to do the same things, but try not to do them the same ways. “Try to work on different tasks or use different strengths in your job instead of always doing the same thing in the same order,” Crawford says. “Using different strengths are important to fulfillment.”
2. Become a Mentor
According to millennial career coach Jill Jacinto, “Sometimes it helps to pay it forward to remind yourself why you fell in love with your career when you did. Helping someone with her career will energize you and give you a chance to learn from a younger generation too.”
3. Learn Something New
Before boredom — and dissatisfaction — can set in, it’s time to learn something new, says Crawford. “Take an online course or learn about new software that would be beneficial to your line of work,” she says. “Stay up to date. Staying in the know helps keeps you sharp.”
4. Network With Others
“Sometimes meeting with fresh faces can inspire you,” says Jacinto. So, attend a conference, reach out to your LinkedIn network or send an email to a former co-worker. “Sharing your career story and hearing [another] perspective can help spur creativity and partnerships.”
5. Talk With Your Boss
It might be easy to wait for annual performance reviews to talk to your boss. But don’t, says Crawford. “Let them know your professional goals, and ask to take on new projects and for feedback about your overall performance,” she says. “They will keep you in mind and plus, this provides the opportunity to work on tasks that contribute to your overall happiness.”
6. Practice Self-Care
“Self-care is very important and something that is too often dismissed,” says Jacinto. And so, to stay happy at work, “make sure that work isn’t getting in the way or preoccupying your thoughts — take that beach vacation, attend weekly Pilates classes, get a massage or go on a hike. By regularly making self-care a part of your routine, you are allowing yourself to check out but also to feel refreshed and inspired for when you get back to the office.”