How to Find Joy in Your Job

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You spend a third or more of your life at work. So, what if you're not (yet) in your dream job? Does that mean you must resign yourself to disliking a third of your life?


Absolutely not! We've put together a list of proven techniques to feel better on the job — just choose one or more that suit your situation. You'll find that when your work life gets happier, the rest of your life does, too.


Write down how this job benefits you.


In a study of schoolchildren, researchers had them write an essay about why they should take a class they didn't like, such as math or science. After doing that assignment, the students' grades in their disliked subject improved dramatically. And the ones who were least engaged before showed the biggest turnaround.


You can play the same mind trick on your attitude to your job. Think of all the ways it is helping you achieve what you want in life — in addition to the paycheck, of course.


Your list could include: acquiring job skills, learning to work in a team, making connections with people who might help you in the future, developing your ability to plan, organize or solve problems, etc. All of these hard and soft skills will amp up your resume and empower your future career.


Think of how your job benefits others.


Say you work in an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse. Every day you help people obtain items they need or want, from life-saving medicines to a gift for a grandchild. Helping make others' lives better is a powerful feel-good activity for most of us. Let it inspire your efforts on the job.


Remind yourself of your purpose.


When you're caught up in the daily grind, it's easy to lose sight of your ultimate goals. Place a memory trigger where you'll see it every day and be re-motivated — for example, a picture of the house you're saving for, the children you want to put through college, the business you plan to start.


Enjoy your work friends.


Your tasks might not be so great, but there are surely at least a few great people on your team. Chat with them during breaks, share thoughts about the job's challenges, tell them some jokes or laugh at theirs.


These moments will brighten your day, relieve your stress, and give you a reason to look forward to going to work.


Do something fun on your lunch break.


Don't just hunker down over your sandwich and doomscroll. Take a walk in a nearby park, play your favorite music, work out, read, listen to an audio course, make some art, meditate, get a manicure, even take a short nap (if there's a safe place for it). These mini vacations will do wonders for your energy, focus and happiness level.


Take an active interest in your work.


Legendary acting coach Konstantin Stanislavski said, "There are no small parts, only small actors." That motto applies to every type of work: "There are no boring jobs, only boring workers."


Do every task as if it had meaning to you, and you'll become interested for real. What's more, you'll outperform those of your co-workers who are just "phoning it in" — making you the sort of employee who gets picked first for raises and promotions.


Expand your learning opportunities.


Volunteer for tasks outside your normal scope. This will break you out of your work rut, while giving you new skills and work friends.


If there are no opportunities to "cross-train," apply your creativity to your current role. Think of ways to do it better and suggest them to your supervisor. Wouldn't you be proud if your suggestion was responsible for improving the workday for yourself and your entire team?


Which of these techniques appeal to you? We hope you'll give them a try, and turn that boring job into one that's full of possibilities for happiness and growth.


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