Given the amount of time you probably spend working, finding a job you enjoy is critical not just to your career, but to your overall well-being. Unfortunately, most Americans aren't thrilled with their jobs. In fact, 52% identify as being unhappy at work. Whether you're planning to stay at your next job for a couple of years or a couple of decades, here are a few things you can do to achieve some on-the-job happiness.
1. Find work you're passionate about
A good 40% of U.S. employees work more than 50 hours each week, while 20% clock in over 60 hours on the job. And that's a lot of time to spend doing something you find boring or uninspiring. In fact, no matter how many hours your job demands, it's critical to find a career that not only perpetually piques your interest, but leaves you feeling reasonably fulfilled.
Of course, many jobs come with their share of tedious tasks, so don't expect to land a role that keeps you 100% stimulated all the time. But if you find a job you can be passionate about, you're more likely to remain content for the long haul.
2. Never stop learning
Even the most interesting job can get boring over time. If your goal is to be happy at work, make sure you're always doing something to grow your skills, whether it's taking classes, shadowing other teams at your company, or asking a senior partner to serve as your mentor. Keeping your mind perpetually engaged is crucial to your happiness.
3. Dabble in new things
Maybe you're not ready for a new role at your company, or to get promoted just yet, but that doesn't mean you can't volunteer to take on different tasks that fall outside your general realm of responsibility. The next time a new initiative kicks off at your company, ask to be a part of it, even if it means pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. The more you challenge yourself, the more fulfillment you're likely to get out of your job. As an added bonus, if you show your management team that you're not afraid to broaden your horizons, you just might snag a promotion after all.
4. Speak up when something bothers you
Most companies aren't perfect. Even if you mostly like your job, chances are there's a certain policy you find unfair, or a specific team that tends to get the shaft. No matter your actual point of discontent, don't be afraid to voice it, respectfully, to the powers that be, and make your case for change. Harboring feelings of resentment at the workplace is apt to mess with your happiness over time, but if you tell management what's irking you, there's a good chance someone will listen.
5. Work for a company that values its employees
Employers have different ways of showing their workers some appreciation. Some companies offer impressive salaries and health benefits. Others, meanwhile, offer generous (sometimes unlimited) amounts of paid time off. Working for a company that makes an effort to show that it values its employees is one final way to lock in that on-the-job happiness so many of us crave.
Employee appreciation can be expressed in ways other than money and perks, too. In fact, sometimes, all it takes is the right attitude or vibe to make employees feel good about the work they're doing. And that's just as important as showering workers with cash and benefits.
Being happy at work will help you avoid the frustration and burnout so many employees experience. If you're not satisfied with your current situation, it's never too late to update your resume and begin looking elsewhere. You deserve a job you can feel good about, and if that means picking up and starting over at a new company, so be it.