How can I be happier at work? | Inge Dowden Coaching

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How can I be happier at work?

How to love your job
We’re smack bang in the middle of the holiday season. A lot of people were desperate to get away and find themselves fighting the holiday blues now they’re back. If that’s you, it might be time to think about how you can be happier in your job.

You’re not alone. A lot of people find they’re unhappy in their work and would like a change, but don’t know what to do about it. So how can you be happier in your job?

Know what makes you happy

In order to be happy, you first need to know what makes you happy. It needs to be crystal clear to you. A great exercise to do for this is the Ideal Job Checklist. You need to know how many hours you want to work, how much travelling are you prepared to do, how much do you want to get paid, and so on.

If you’re thinking about how you can be happier in your job, you have to start by being really sure about what will make you happy. Another exercise that’s good for that is the Live Your Best Life exercise.

Make sure you can shine

The problem with your job might be the environment you’re in. As you may know, I’m a big fan of DISC personality profiling. One of the many things a DISC profile can do is help you understand what kind of environment you’re best suited to. For example, if you’re an introverted, task-orientated person you will probably shine in a quiet office working on detailed projects from start to finish; however, if you’re an extroverted, people-focused person that would be hell for you. That sort of person would probably prefer to be somewhere with lots of people, variety and activity.

If you don’t know your personality preferences, I’d recommend you do a DISC profile (which you can do with me by clicking here, by the way).

Use the right skills and experience

Are you using your skills and experience, but more importantly are you using the ones you enjoy using? Just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean you have to enjoy doing it all the time. I can type very quickly and accurately, but I’d be miserable typing all day.

Have you done an inventory of your skills and experience, recently? It’s good to make a list of all your skills. Remember to add both technical skills (computer literacy, repairing things, speaking languages, etc.) and so-called soft skills (communication, dealing with people, listening, etc.). A good place to start is the skills section of LinkedIn to give you an idea of what you can include. Once you’ve done that you’ll know what you’re good at, and what you enjoy doing. And it can highlight gaps in your skills or experience. Do you perhaps want or need to develop certain skills? What could you do to improve?

Know what’s important to you

Knowing what’s important to you at work can have a huge impact on you how you can be happier in your job. Perhaps what would really make you happy at work is leading a team or producing quality solo work. Perhaps you need stability or perhaps you want everything to be changing all the time. Thinking about what’s important to you in your work and then finding a job that gives you that, will make you happy and fulfilled.

Have a go at my Work priorities to get a bit of help figuring that out.

Don’t aim for perfection

Once you’ve done all of these exercises, you need see how it compares to your current job. But don’t aim for perfection. Wanting the perfect job is the quickest route to unhappiness because there is no such thing as a job that’s 100% perfect all the time. You want to aim for around 80% of doing something that you love or like. But around 20% of the work you do can be “not that great”, boring or even unenjoyable, and you’d still have a great job. And bear in mind that this equates to one day a week!

Have a look at how you’re spending your time. As long as the things that are “not so great” are less than 20% of your time you’re probably doing better than you think. If there’s more than 20% of your time that is “not so great” then you need to think about the change. If you’re not sure where to start, a careers coach (like me) can help you figure that out. Remember that you can have a completely free, no-obligation career assessment with me to see if and how I could help you. Just email me and we can set it up.

The common theme with all of these points is that you need to know what makes you happy. The more specific the better. When you have a clear idea of what you want, it will be much easier to find it, although that’s a topic for another day.

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