With the unemployment rate doing little to indicate signs of improvement in terms of available jobs, people generally consider themselves lucky just to be bringing home a paycheck. But being gratefully employed doesn't mean that you are happily employed. Unfortunately, happiness at work is much less a concern than paying bills, so many individuals are staying in positions that they might not find satisfying personally or professionally simply because there is nothing else out there. (For some reasons you stay at your current position, check out 8 Reasons To Tough Out Your Job.)
But is the slow job market a reason for actually accepting unhappiness during the longest nine hours of your day, or is there a way to learn to love the job you're in? Here are a few tips that may break up the monotony and help you find some good aspects to your present work situation.
1. Volunteer for Special Projects
Many employers have special projects that are related to new product or service launches and business expansion. Volunteering for these opportunities can create the development of new duties (either temporarily or permanently) that may allow you to find some variety in your work day. They may also help you rely on strengths or passions that your normal duties don't. Don't be afraid to utilize talents you have developed through your hobbies in these special projects.
2. Enjoy Cross Training
Training in other departments or for other job titles not only helps your employer deal with staffing shortages and call outs, but it can also expose you to a job title and skill set that you don't currently use. Whether this variety is just occasionally enjoyed or something you can segue into a full-time position, it can offer some relief from the monotony that makes you unhappy.
3. Take Career Development Courses
Many employers offer career development programs and courses that help you grow from what you do on a daily basis to the next level. You could train for supervisory roles or positions that don't have management duties but do have new opportunities that expand on your current work. Some of these development courses might not help you to climb the ladder, but they may help you to be even better at your current position, which can help you manage stress, streamline your processes and be happier.
4. Create New Projects
Special projects don't just have to be initiated by management. If you see something running inefficiently that you think you could change, create a plan and present it to your supervisor to see if they are interested. Not only might you get a special project out of it, but you just might make the work environment easier as a result. (For jobs with a high satisfaction ratings from their employees, read 10 Jobs That Make People Happy.)
5. Suggest Team Building Events
Creating a stronger team that understands each other and works well together can go a long way toward making your workplace more pleasant. Team building events don't have to be expensive work retreats; they simply need to be activities that you can take part in together and that help you learn about each other and to trust one another.
6. Volunteer for a Committee
Many companies have monthly birthday celebrations, quarterly pot luck luncheons, safety teams and other events or duties that require volunteers to make them work. Taking part in some of them can break up the monotony of your routine and allow you a creative outlet at work.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes in life, our current situation isn't much more than what we make of it. That's why it's a good idea to try and take as much responsibility for your happiness as you can. Don't roll over and accept unhappiness as a default destiny when stuck in a job you no longer enjoy; instead, try to take matters into your own hands to improve your experience, and the experience of everyone around you. (If you have tried all of the above, it may be a sign of job burnout, to help you identify it, read 7 Signs Of Job Burnout.)