If the highlight of your day is a coffee run, it’s time for a 9-to-5 rethink. We did a survey with LinkedIn and learned what separates a great job from a sucky one. Here’s how to fun up your gig.
“OMG. I am so bored.” Make time fly…
- Think back. Remember all the reasons you took this job in the first place. Was it the sweet hours? A quickie commute? Tons of responsibility? Then come up with ways to rekindle the excitement you felt on day one. Go out after work and enjoy your free evenings; bike to the office just because you can.
- Escape your desk. Working endless hours can affect your productivity. Take an honest-to-goodness lunch break (we know, crazy, right?) and eat your salad in the park or hit a yoga class. You’ll be more effective after a time-out, research shows.
- Set two goals. Make one short-term – “I’ll go to two networking events this month” – to get an instant sense of satisfaction that you’re opening doors to a happier future. The other should be bigger-picture: “In a year I want to get promoted.” Clear-cut goals increase your energy and focus.
- Brainstorm with pals. If you spend all day sitting solon in your cube, creative thinking can go out the (nonexistent) window. Bounce a few ideas off a coworker, or ask your boss if you can pitch in with a group project.
- Find a mentor. “Reach out to a higher-up at your workplace and ask if you can take her out for coffee to get advice”. When someone you respect takes the time to talk with you, it helps you feel engaged with what you’re working on.
- Take a class. “Honing your job skills – say, learning how to better use social media – can help you feel more confident about your abilities, which translates to feeling more motivated at work”. (Your company may even pay your tuition!) Plus, the more you learn, the more marketable you’ll be when it’s time to move on.
This Is My Job?! FML.
Fat paychecks and fancy perks don’t equal contentment. You need something deeper. Agree with any of these statements and it’s likely your job falls short of fulfilling.
- My company’s not inspiring. If you wish your company had a purpose a bit more noble than padding the owner’s bank account, spearhead a community project, such as a book drive.”It’s great PR for the company, brings the team together and makes everyone feel good about their work.”
- I don’t care about the projects I work on. When you’re stuck with tasks you could do in your sleep (or that bore you to sleep), consider ways you might combine your interests with the company’s goals – perhaps by updating the website or making connections to nab new clients. Before you run your plan by your boss, come up with solutions for how you’ll cover your old to-dos while taking on the new project.
- The boss never talks to me. It’s like a high school crush: Sometimes you gotta make the first move. If your organization doesn’t require employee reviews, ask for a meeting with your supervisor; “Think of it as a dialogue – and a great time to address any concerns your boss might have about your work.”
- There’s no opportunity to get promoted. Room for growth is key to being happy at work, especially when you’re first starting out. Before you resign yourself to being an assistant for life, ask your manager, “What are you looking to accomplish this quarter, and how can I help?” Giving your boss a boost makes you an MVP. And when a spot opens higher on the ladder, odds are, she’ll be happy to give you a leg up.
So you really want to peace out
Before you jump ship for another field, it’s good to have a little insider intel. Based on our survey results, here’s where you will – and won’t – find satisfied coworkers.
The Happiest Peeps Are..
- Building Stuff : Our first thought: Really?? Construction is seriously taxing work, and hard hats aren’t exactly comfortable (or fashionable). “There can be days when you’re totally exhausted, but it’s never boring. And when you complete a project, you can look at it and say, ‘ I built that.’ It’s such an awesome feeling!”
- Guiding The Country : Sure, it’s easy to crack jokes about government inefficiency. But we admit there’s a coolness factor to being in charge of issues that affect people in every community. “I love that the cases I work on are meaningful and make an impact” . “There are fewer resources than in the private sector, but that means you get a lot of responsibility right from the start.”
- Working Out All Day :Um, obvs! Not gonna lie: We’re pretty jealous that those in the recreation field get to rock their gym clothes 24/7. And there’s the feel-good component of helping people get in shape or learn a new skill, like surfing or CrossFit.
And The Least Happy Are…
- Improving Lives : Nonprofit work is rewarding, or it should be, but shoestring budgets don’t always go hand in hand with dreaming big and bettering the world. “The pay is low and you don’t get a lot of acknowledgment. If you don’t pay yourself on the back every now and then, no one will.”
- Writing Code : Tech companies tend to offer fun perks, like free lunches and on-site fitness classes. But that doesn’t always make up for the crazy-long hours or the amount of one-on-one time with your computer. “Love bringing something to life with code, but it can be a tough process, filled with late nights and unexpected delays”. “And as soon as you launch, you have to constantly update, so it feels like nothing is ever finished.”
- Reporting The News : Awkward. But we can kind of understand why the media biz gets a bad rap. It’s a tough economy, and with smaller staffs and a 24/7 news cycle, there’s no rest for the (weary) reporters. We at SELF love what we do – giving you info that helps make your life happier and healthier. And no, we aren’t just saying that.