“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”, said Confucius. True, although with nuances. When we think about our professional future, our main aspirational goal is to get a job where we feel comfortable, accomplished and with a chance to thrive, both professionally and personally.

Achieving happiness at the workplace is something that starts off by defining that very concept. The well-known philosopher Aristotle already named it “the good habit”. And there’s no better habit than being a good professional. In other words: working makes us feel accomplished, useful for a team and, what’s more important, self-fulfilled.

Confucius and Aristotle were not wrong. Working for a living is always easier if you enjoy it and you do it well. Some jobs, such as nursing, teaching or journalism, have a vocational power about them. “It’s my passion”, that’s what many people say about them and other sport, cultural or ludic hobbies. But the rest of professions should also rely on said passion, so how do we develop it?

Finding happiness at work

The first step lies within you

The first thing you must be perfectly aware of is that the choice is only yours. The way you face your professional situation is going to have a direct impact on your happiness at the workplace and, therefore, your overall performance. According to studies by the University of Warwick and the Wall Street Journal in collaboration with the Opener Institute for People, when professionals are motivated and satisfied with their job, they become 12% more productive and 31% more efficient.

Tips for enjoying yourself while working

We’ll talk about changing the direction of our career further down the road. Now we’re going to address how to enhance motivation at the workplace while in our current position. 23.4% of Spanish workers claim that they’re not happy with their job, according to the 6th Adecco Survey ‘Happiness at Work” (2018), conducted apropos the International Day of Happiness. How can this situation be reverted?

  1. Have clear goals. Setting goals is the first step to take on your professional journey. There´s no point in walking aimlessly.
  2. Stay positive. The attitude towards your daily challenges is crucial to achieve happiness at the workplace. Keeping a positive mentality will allow you to perform your duties with higher degrees of motivation and energy and make the most out of your work.
  3. Have a proactive attitude. The quintessential professional principle of the 21st century. A proactive attitude will allow you to maximize time, one of the professional skills with a brighter future, and feel more accomplished, while developing your leadership skills and evolving as a professional.  
  4. Cultivate the relationship with your colleagues. Your team, your acquaintances also play an important role in creating a good working environment. Having a chat during lunchtime, for instance, is one of those perfect moments to bond.
  5. Don’t refuse changes. It’s more than likely that during your career you’ll have to face unexpected situations. Try to be open-minded and receptive, and it will have a very positive impact on you and the way you deal with work.

External and internal motivations  

Now that we have mentioned some tips for being happy at the workplace, let’s talk about the direct role of motivation in all this. To bear in mind your role and your colleagues’, it’s the turn of a popular psychological theory that explains the motivations of human behaviour. Have you ever heard about Maslow’s pyramid? There are five levels to it, but we’re going to highlight those who have a greater impact in our work situation: esteem and self-realization.

  1. The need to be esteemed is extrinsic to you. It depends on external recognition in the form of trust, personal independence, reputation or financial goals. Speaking about work environments, we refer to being praised by a superior for a good performance, or relied on by your peers whenever they seek to solve technical inquiries. It can also be linked to an increase in salary, a better work-life balance… Facts that will surely encourage you to keep on with your good performance.
  2. The need for self-realization is only satisfied after the previous four are so. It depends entirely on you, since it is the perception of personal and professional success. In this case, a success that is pursued every day.

All in all, being happy during our workday depends on external factors to a great extent, but mostly on your attitude. Of course, you have to be aware that some days are better than others. What´s the important lesson? Your good work and your will to grow professionally, both are key to turn your profession into a hobby.

Sources: Universia, El País, El Economista, AEPSAL y Edenred

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