I’ve been happy at work for over 30 years now, but I still remember what it felt like to be unhappy at work and what I did to turn that situation around.
In 1983 I was employed as an office manager with an investment company. I was totally fed up with administrative work and wanted to work with people and write. I did an aptitude test at work. The results said: Not good at: writing, leadership, anything creative. Good at: mathematics, administration, and organising. Now anyone who knows me well would say that all the things that I was once described as not being good at, are now my strengths.
There will always be people who tell you what you can’t do, but I believe that if you have a strong enough desire you can develop skills. Always remember this: Desire is more important than talent. Aptitude tests usually tell us what we already know. Aptitude is like a muscle, if you don’t use it you don’t develop the skill. To be happy at work you need to discover what excites you, what you enjoy doing, then you can gain the skills required.
What makes you happy at work
To be able to find the right work for you, you need to know what makes you happy at work. I started asking myself questions like: What do I enjoy doing? What am I good at? What do I need from a job? What hours do I want to work? How much money do I want to make? What type of people do I want to work with? Where do I want to work?
The more questions you ask, the more information you gather that eventually becomes your job profile. You need to keep this list with you so that you can add to it whenever something comes to mind.
Keep an open mind
An easy mistake to make when you have a list of what makes you happy at work is try to find a an exact job title that fits, but it’s best if you can keep an open mind. When I went through my career crisis, I didn’t decide exactly what my new career would be, but when a position was offered to me I instantly knew it was right for me because of the extensive research I had undertaken on my needs and wants. I did the necessary work first and I was ready when the opportunity came.
Once I started in my new career, the learning didn’t stop. It started, and I am still learning today. Being dissatisfied in your career can be a great opportunity. I could never have plotted the path to get to where I am today. Don’t limit opportunities because you believe you are too old, too young, unqualified, not good enough, don’t have a degree or have failed before.
What it all comes down to is acting as if you believe in yourself and your abilities. Set up a daily routine that supports you that reminds you to:
- Control your thoughts, these will take you down the wrong path at times, so remember to constantly tell yourself you can have what you want.
- Don’t talk to others about what you want, many will make you doubt your dreams.
- Make a list of things to do that lift your spirits and do them when you feel down.
- Add simple activities into your daily life that make you happy, because happy people attract more opportunities.
If you act as if you believe you are a wonderful, intelligent person, then others will see your potential as well and doors will open to you.