It’s great when you have a job that you adore – you wake up excited for work every day, you love your coworkers, your managers make you feel valued, and you feel like your work is important. However, loving your job isn’t universal. Some struggle to find the positives in their work life and don’t enjoy their work as a result, which is unfortunate for those of us who feel this way, as our work takes up a large portion of our lives.
In order to live a better work life, it’s important to take a few things into account. It’s about trying not to be “that guy” in the office, focusing on your company’s main goal, working to stay positive, communicating with those around you, and knowing when the unhappiness is too much. Living a better work life may not be switching from a job loather to a job adorer, but it might be taking a few steps to change your mindset and take control of the things you’re able to.
Live a better work life by being aware of others around you and working hard not to be ‘that guy’ in the office. What does ‘that guy’ mean? It means being the person whose actions bother everyone around them and being either unaware of it, or unbothered by it.
Eating super potent food in an open office, being a leg jiggler, chewing loudly, being an obscenely loud typer, being late to every meeting, taking more than your share of company food, leaving dirty dishes out, missing deadlines, and ignoring personal hygiene are all things that are terrible offenses — especially in an open office setting. Having emotional intelligence is important in sensitive career settings such as medical careers, but it’s also important when dealing with coworkers in all career settings.
By being focused on the emotions of the coworkers, clients, and managers around you, you can create an atmosphere of apathy and understanding. It’ll increase teamwork, self-awareness, and an understanding of those around you. Having a good relationship with the people you work with, under, or for is a big step in living a better work life, and one huge step in the right direction is to work hard not to be “that guy.”
When work becomes difficult to take, sometimes it’s helpful to focus on the main goal. This can be the main goal of the company, or your main career goals. For instance, a lot of jobs that really make a difference to the people around you are extremely difficult. Nurses, for instance, work a job that makes a pretty tangible difference in people’s lives. However, it’s a job that’s really difficult — it’s working long hours, being treated poorly by patients, and being away from family.
However, sometimes it’s helpful to focus on the difference you’re making. Similarly, the nonprofit sector now employs roughly 10 percent of the U.S. workforce, that’s a 25 percent growth from 2001 to 2011. Nonprofit work is hard work with long hours, but the work being done is hugely impactful. By focusing on that main goal, it’s easier to look past the hard parts and love work more.
“Stay positive,” can be a really annoying piece of advice, but it’s something to take note of. Find the things you love about your job and hold onto them. Maybe you love your work, but you dislike your coworkers or your management, so dive into your work and focus on that positive. Maybe you aren’t crazy about your duties, but you love the people you work with. Focus on them to get you through things, just don’t let your dislike for your work ruin your motivation to do your best. Make your work a positive experience by making your space yours. Bring in some photos from home, get a plant, or ask for a standing desk to keep yourself healthier. Try hard not to dwell on the negatives and, instead, focus on some of your favorite positives.
Another aspect to living a better work life is to understand the importance of communication with all of those around you. Whether workflow, management style, work environment, hours, or coworkers are the thing that’s making work life difficult, it’s something you should okay to communicate with management. Your concerns may be something that is easy enough to fix and you can dramatically change your work life for the better as a result. Confronting issues like this head on is not always the easiest thing, but using positive language and focusing on your ability to perform at your best once your issues are dealt with is a good way to discuss your problems.
Unfortunately, some work environments are toxic, and it’s important to be able to distinguish when enough is enough. Living a better work life may mean agreeing to take another job that fits your needs better.
When the negatives overwhelmingly override the positives, it may be time to look at other options. When communication doesn’t go both ways, or your concerns are met without solutions, you may consider finding a job that can make you happy. Sometimes the work is not challenging enough, your coworkers are rude, your management doesn’t make you feel valued, your environment is too distracting, or your clients are difficult to handle. It’s not uncommon to find work difficult or stressful, but it’s not common to have work have a big negative impact on your happiness. Know your hard lines, and decide for yourself when work annoyances become consistent dark clouds over other parts of your life.
Going to work with a positive attitude, the willingness to compromise, a little bit of self-awareness, and a commitment to hard work can really go a long way. It’s not uncommon to have some issues with work, so know that you’re not alone in that feeling. However, some career negativity is too much, and it may be time to look for a job that makes you happier. But if you love your job, just maybe not all of it, you can work your way towards living a better work life.
Guest Blog: Chelsy Ranard