You want to be happier at work, of course you do. Even bigger, you want to be happier across the entirety of your career. Below are 10 tips to help you accomplish just that.

1. Be in the right job

Many people just fall into their jobs without a lot of intentionality, or alignment to a bigger picture. If you’re not doing something that excites who you are, and fits into what you want to accomplish across your career, then it’s an unrealistic expectation to think the work alone will make you happy. If you’re not in the right job, go find it!

2. Do it for more than the paycheck

While a paycheck is great and keeps you getting up and going to work everyday, the reality is it’s not enough to make you happy. If there isn’t an undergirding passion or pursuit that your worklife aligns to and supports, the days will feel like drudgery and the passing of your life. If you’re only doing it for the paycheck, then go ignite your passion/ purpose.

3. Position yourself to make the impact you want

Completing tasks or checking boxes is just not rewarding in and of itself. You want to make an impact; you want things to be better because you were there. If you’re not able to execute to that impact, then your work satisfaction will most definitely suffer. Impact doesn’t just happen by chance; it has to be planned and executed. Go make it happen.

4. Know your boundaries, and stick to them

Just because you’re getting paid doesn’t mean anyone is entitled to take advantage of who you are, your life, or what’s important to you. In order to be your best at work, you have to be the best version of yourself, and that requires boundaries. Boundaries work to maintain your stress levels, your sense of worth and value, and your balance to what you want your life to be.

5. Plan how your career will end

If you know where you’re going, it’s easy to get there. However, many people don’t know where they’re going in their career, or what they want to have accomplished by its end. If you know where you want to take your career, then it helps you to be able to align every decision, preparation, and correction to that ultimate end. It also infuses a ‘bigger picture’ attitude in dealing with the frustrations and failures.

6. Stay in control

No one has control over your career unless you give it to them. Don’t do that. Maintain control over your career with your own strategic direction, careful planning/ preparation, and consistency to stay the course. If you keep yourself positioned by making sure you are always growing your skillsets and marketability, then no bad boss or layoff ultimately takes anything from you.

7. Engage people to see your value

People don’t miss your value on purpose; it’s not that they don’t care. Rather, you have to help people see your value by learning to connect with all people, and stating your value in the context of what’s important to others. You will be happier at your job, and have more upward mobility options, when others see the fullness of what you have to offer. This will help you from feeling ignored and passed over.

8. Take on your own professional development

We no longer live in a time where Corporate will train you, or even necessarily give you the skills/ resources you need to do your job successfully. That burden of investment in you, rests with you. The sooner you realize that basic fact and reset your expectations appropriately, the sooner you determine your own professional development plan and how you’re going to make it happen.

9. Build professional relationships continually

The workplace is really just about people. People make you, or people break you. Too often, folks ‘network’ when they need something. Since you want to open all your options, building professional relationships is something that you’re always doing across the organization. Those relationships are worth every bit of investment to sustaining your professional well-being.

10. Do ‘you’

Work should be fun. It should be engaging. It should allow you to do ‘you’, and be the best professional version of yourself. If it’s not doing that, figure out what’s wrong and change it. Get help, take action, but don’t settle for anything less than who you are and what you can do. It’s in that settling where unhappiness breeds many other ailments and havoc upon your life. Be determined to do ‘you’ well.

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