Your job is an essential part of your life. Because you spend a lot of your time there, knowing how to be happy at work is also essential.
It’s easy to be happy at work if you like your job, get paid well, and have a healthy balance between your personal and professional life.
But sometimes, your work environment can feel toxic. Maybe you don’t like your job, your manager, or the people at work. You could be feeling overworked, underappreciated, and underpaid. Or it could just be your attitude or behavior.
If you fail to identify what needs to change and work towards making these changes, you will likely burn out and feel miserable whenever you have to go to work.
Here are 11 easy tips for things you need to stop doing, if you want to be happy at work.
Stop Saying Yes to Everything
It’s easy to end up overworking if you always say yes to every assignment or are the first to volunteer when asked. This isn’t good for your personal life, professional life, or your mental health.
If you want a happier work life, you need to have boundaries. Taking on too much work will interfere with your work-life balance, where “work” takes precedence over “life.”
And stop agreeing with everyone and everything! This doesn’t mean that you should turn down or oppose other people’s ideas without a valid reason, but speak up if you have an idea or suggestion that could be better and more viable.
You may never get a promotion or raise if you simply keep saying yes. Leaders like employees who can challenge them, and not ones who agree with everything they say.
Avoid office gossip at all costs. Whether you are a leader or an employee at a company, you have a job description, and gossiping is not part of it.
Involving yourself in the office drama and gossip can hurt your professional development because you are focusing on the wrong things. In most cases, these are things that you can’t control or change, anyway.
Don’t forget – the thing about gossip is that when you leave the table, there is a high chance that you will also be bad-mouthed. So it’s best not to participate in it at all.
Set your goals and targets and focus on them instead of spending your time gossiping about people.
You should also learn to ignore any rumors you may hear about yourself, particularly if it comes from people known to gossip. Do your work and pay no attention to any negative comments anyone makes about you.
However, if the rumors and comments don’t stop or you feel like you are being harassed or bullied, don’t ignore that! Report that to your supervisor or HR department as soon as possible.
Stop Being Jealous
It’s human nature to be jealous sometimes, so you need to learn to keep your emotions in check. Harboring jealousy will only make you miserable.
For instance, if you were eyeing a certain position but someone else got the promotion over you, it’s okay to be upset about it, but try not to be jealous.
Instead, try to do better at work by improving areas you are not so good in and focus on delivering exceptional results. You will eventually get the promotion or the recognition that your work deserves.
Holding on to jealously will do the opposite. Being filled with contempt will make you less productive at work, which can leave you stuck in the position you are in.
Stop Trying to be Perfect
Your job does not always have to be done perfectly. So if you are a perfectionist (like me), you need to learn how to tone it down; otherwise, you will be miserable at work.
Most of us work as a part of a team. It’s almost impossible for a project to be “perfect” according to your standards when working with others. Everyone has different ideas and opinions on what perfect looks like, and they all have to be integrated.
Do your job well, but avoid holding yourself to a standard of perfection. It will only frustrate you in the long run.
Most of the time, employers want work that is “good enough” and done instead of work that is perfect but late, overly time-consuming, or costly.
If you are a leader, try not to micromanage your employees and expect perfection from them either. Figure out what level of quality is acceptable, and stick to that.
Stop Any Harmful Self-Scrutiny or Self-Criticism
Being self-aware is usually a good thing. But being too self-aware can be a problem. If self-scrutiny or self-criticism is something you struggle with, work towards overcoming it.
Be confident in your ideas. If they happen to be wrong, you will learn from it.
Second-guessing yourself will make you miss out on opportunities that could have been life-changing for you.
If you have a question – ask it.
If you have an opinion – voice it.
And if you have an idea, even if you are uncertain – share it.
You won’t grow in any aspect at work if you are always second-guessing and keeping your ideas to yourself.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
It’s essential to set goals and targets at work, but don’t compare yourself to other leaders or employees. Doing that will only make you feel bad about yourself, and in the process, you’ll forget about your own growth and progress.
Remember that comparison is a thief of joy.
Besides, you and your fellow employees have different goals. It’s okay if someone younger than you thrives at work, and it’s also okay if others are getting promotions and you aren’t.
When you set goals on where you want to be and how you plan to get there, you will realize that you are making progress. If you are going to compare yourself, then compare yourself against your own growth, and you will be happy with your work life.
Stop Suffering From Imposter Syndrome
Feeling like an imposter whose success is thanks to luck (and not hard work) can really take a toll on you and make you miserable in both your work and personal life. If you want a happier life, you need to learn how to identify and overcome imposter syndrome.
Practicing gratitude more often helps. So does owning your achievements and acknowledging the effort and dedication you have put into getting to where you are today.
You should also limit the amount of time you spend on social media, which could worsen your imposter syndrome.
Not addressing it will keep you feeling like you don’t deserve your success or current job title and responsibilities. You might start overworking to prove that you belong and deserve to be there, which only makes it worse by causing more stress and anxiety.
Stop Letting Others Take Credit for Your Work
Without learning how to stand your ground and speak up for yourself, you may find yourself in a position where people take credit for your work.
For example, say your supervisor gives you a project to work on, then when they submit it to the boss, they take all the credit without acknowledging you. If you have invested your time on a project, it’s only right that you get credit for it.
If your input is not acknowledged, make sure you are given the credit and recognition you deserve. Speak up in the moment if you can, or talk to your supervisor about it soon after so that it doesn’t happen again.
Not only will you be unhappy if you don’t learn to stand up for yourself, but you might miss out on promotions or bonuses if someone else is being credited for your accomplishments and contributions.
Stop Being so Negative
We all have bad days. But sometimes, it’s our own fault.
Being pessimistic and whining, complaining, nit-picking, or expecting the worst will foster a draining and negative environment. And you know what they say – negativity attracts more negativity.
So while it’s important to express yourself and vent your frustrations, there’s a right time and place to do so. At work, surrounded by your co-workers, usually isn’t it.
Try your best to avoid having negative, disruptive thoughts go through your mind when you are at work since they may hinder your productivity. Sometimes, taking a break and stepping away from the situation will do the trick. Breathing exercises can also help whenever you have disruptive thoughts.
If you cannot seem to control them, it would be best to seek professional help. Often, ignoring a problem will not make it go away. It is better to address a problem when you identify it.
You will be happier at work when you have a clear mind and you are focused on the activities at hand.
You will encounter many difficult people in your workplace. It could be your horrible boss, a co-worker, an employee, or even a client. Difficult people will test your patience and frustrate you. However, you have to learn to be gracious and let it not get to you.
Learn from them, and stay kind. You will be miserable if you let their behavior get to you.
Whenever you can, steer clear of their path and generally avoid interacting with them – unless you have to. Don’t give anyone the power to ruin your day.
It would be best if you also avoided anyone you find toxic in your work environment. You cannot get pulled into their toxicity if you don’t associate yourself with them.
Stop Dwelling on Problems
There is always going to be an issue, hurdle, or problem that you have to deal with at work. Do not focus all your energy on them!
As mentioned earlier, things cannot always be perfect at work. There will be good days, and there will be bad days.
Whenever there is a problem, try to develop a solution that can fix it instead of fixating on the problem. Dwelling on it will not change it, but coming up with a solution will.
There are various tips on how to be happy at work, but it all starts with your mindset. Learn to focus only on the positives.
It would also help if you accepted people as they are and do not try to change them. Some people are naturally difficult to deal with, so you’re better off if you learn to avoid them.
Go to work, perform your tasks, and at the end of the day, go home. Associate yourself with people who can help you grow in your career and people who are kind.
If you’re wondering how to be happy at work, follow these suggestions and see how quickly things improve.
Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.