They don’t call it ‘work’ because it’s fun, you know.
Even so, how can you be happy when you hate your job?
When we were very young, kids even, we lived inside this magical bubble of hope and wonder.
We went to school, did our homework and spent some time with friends and family members.
It was a peaceful existence, but also a complete lie.
Real life isn’t like that.
Sometime during our life we are introduced to this concept called “work”, and how we have to get “jobs” in order to “work” and sustain ourselves.
Some of us take to it better than others, but ultimately the vast majority of people will grow to dislike their job over the course of their working days (but more on that later)
But that just brings up the question – is there anything that can be done about it?
For most people, the answer is no.
You will work until you retire or die, that’s a fact of life, one that I have struggled with greatly.
Some people are bothered by the fact that their job will make them lose their freedom, others dislike the notion of having to spend so much time away from their family.
In my particular case, it was because I hated every single job that I have ever worked in.
Human resources, administration, banking (ha!), I disliked them all, and as I found out, I wasn’t the only one.
But here’s the thing, as a life-long depression sufferer I knew I had to make the most out of my job if I were to ever be happy.
I lost too much to depression as it was, I am not going to let life get to me like that ever again as long as I can help it.
Work is work, it has plenty of meaning
As you might have guessed, my family is originally from the former Soviet Union, Belarus more specifically.
Due to the communist influence, they believe in the idea that “work” is a moral value.
In other words, if you don’t work then you are a bad person.
My dad is a workaholic and my mom tolerates pretty much everything that the world throws at her, it would be immoral of them to be anything otherwise.
When my parents heard that I hate my job, any of my jobs, they basically said to me “you can’t miss work, no one will hold onto you”.
The notion that my levels of happiness hold any meaning when it comes to doing your job boggles them – they can’t fathom such a thing.
So what am I getting at?
Some people Believe that work is not meant to be fun, they see it a necessity – one that they tolerate easily.
Think about it for a moment.
Our jobs are very much our life, in more than one way.
We generate income, support our families, establish our status and fall into a routine.
Now, more than ever, people stay in the workforce for longer and longer – their jobs are who they are! Happy or unhappy, that’s a fact.
Ultimately, our job is a tool that we leverage to secure pretty much everything else in life.
Think about it for a moment.
If you can view your job as a tool to secure your ‘life’, will it make you more content, if not happy?
Aside from the obvious, it gives you one more crucial thing
Be engaged – Boredom is the enemy
The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is considered, by some, to be the father of positive psychology.
His ideas are nothing new really – some of them can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece.
He wrote his own book, in which he introduced us to to the idea of “flow”
To put it simply, his idea of “flow” means that a person can be so involved with a thought/idea that nothing else seems to matter.
You lose yourself in what you are doing, your task is the only thing that matters.
He argues that such a state of mind is directly related to our overall levels of happiness.
The work must not be too difficult, otherwise we will get stressed out over it, yet it can’t be too easy, otherwise we will get bored.
Here in Project Conquest, I promote the idea of taking action over having the right mindset (Which is very important, too)
It is my belief that you aren’t going to develop a positive mindset (the end result) until you take action.
As such, when left alone, I believe that your own thoughts will be your worst enemy.
Either you are going to have negative thoughts, or you’re going to be just plain bored.
Both are terrible for you, based on the data.
Your relationships might be the problem
Social psychologist Daniel Gilbert describes the number one factor in happiness as such:
We know that the best predictor of human happiness is human relationships and the amount of time that people spend with family and friends.
We know that it’s significantly more important than money and somewhat more important than health
You heard it right here, folks!
Your relationships with other people are the 1# factor when it comes to your levels of happiness, more so than your money or even your health!
Your relationships pretty much suck, don’t they?
Sure, you might have a great family life and some awesome friends, but you spend relatively little time with each other.
Ideally, you would quit your job and interact with people you enjoy, but since that isn’t really a possibility, here’s an alternative.
Get some great co-workers
Seems obvious, doesn’t it? But it has a lot more depth to it than what you may think.
Think about your co-workers for a moment.
Are they negative people? Do they inspire you to be better? Do you like working with them? Are they your friends?
I’ve talked about this before, but the fact is that negativity draws negativity.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
And that’s very true when you really think about it.
People always hang out with others who are similar to them, if you were to tell me who are your friends I could probably guess what kind of a person are you.
But you don’t spend most of your time with your friends, do you?
No, you spend most of your time with your co-workers.
As such, it only makes sense that you should get yourself some great co-workers.
People with whom you enjoy spending your time with, people who will have some great, positive influence over you.
In fact, I would go as far as to argue that great co-workers are no less important than great friends.
Company culture can really go a long way in that sense.
Start your own thing
This is an extreme case, and it isn’t for everyone.
Most people can ease into a job over time, and humans aren’t known to be natural risk-takers, but when push comes to shove – having a job might not be the right choice for you.
Earlier I talked about engagement, and how it’s a crucial thing for you to take action and engage yourself in order to be happy at work.
Well, some people aren’t going to be engaged at all if they go through the corporate ladder.
Co-workers might be terrible people, they might not have any other options due to their position in the company.
Work might become dull, and office politics are an absolute killer.
Everything just seems to move so S-L-O-W…
If those lines apply to you then your only other option is to open your own business.
Either that or become self-employed/a freelancer.
This line of work might help you find meaning, all the while giving you a sense of freedom, something which many of us yearn for.
You can start your own gig part-time until you feel comfortable enough focusing on it and it alone.
Should your efforts succeed you will be a much happier man.
If you were to fail…
Well, you can always try again.
After all, you still got your job to count on.
When your job makes you miserable – Change
‘What’ and ‘when’ are up to you.
Your work is your life, most of us can’t afford to good around all day long.
You provide for yourself and for others, you might even draw your individuality from what you do.
There is nothing ‘wrong’ or ‘meaningless’ with that.
Put yourself in a better environment, around better people and companies, and become the best version of yourself you can be.
Find work that keeps you engaged.
Even if you aren’t interested in your work, have it be just challenging enough for you to handle.
You won’t even notice the time go by.
Even if all of that isn’t enough for you, search for something else to do.
A change of career, or maybe self-employment.
Unless you make a change, you are going to continue to be unhappy.
Taking action is key to pretty much everything.
So here’s a fun question for you – What are some changes you would like to make?
After you write your answer to this question in the comment section below, go right ahead and apply your ideas.
If you would like to talk to me some more, please send me an email – I love getting those!