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Everyone wants to be happy at work. But here are somethings you should know. Let’s start with the bad news: Nearly a quarter of working Americans are unhappy with their jobs, according to a recent survey by Bellevue University. Now the good news: Those unhappy employees want to find jobs they actually like, according to the survey. Rather than just giving up on the idea of a happy job and surrendering to the conclusion that to work is to be unhappy, these people believe there is a better job out there for them. That’s optimism we can work with.

How To Be Happy At Work

If you’re ready to start looking for happiness at work, here are some things to think about to get you headed in the right direction:

1. Know Yourself

If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never find it. Think about your favorite things about your current job and jobs you’ve held in the past, and think about your least favorite things (this might be a good time to make a list). What tasks do you most enjoy, and what skills do those tasks require? How do you like to work? Do you do your best work as part of a team, or do you thrive when you’re left alone? Is it your job that makes unhappy, or is it your career path? Once you know what will make you happy at work, you’ll be better positioned to go get it.

2. Consider Culture

The term company culture is thrown around so much these days that it’s quickly approaching buzz word status. But culture isn’t just an empty idea bandied about by career coaches and HR types. It’s a real, overarching — if somewhat ambiguous — element that affects how happy and successful you are working for a particular company. Tom Armour, a former HR professional, calls cultural fit the “single most important element when hiring people.” “Skills and experience are very important, but if a person does not fit with the company’s culture they will either leave or be terminated usually in a matter of months,” he said. In general, culture consist of the values, customs and rules of engagement for a particular company. While it can seem intangible, company culture manifests itself in ways small and big, from how people dress while on the job to the way decisions are made and how employees are rewarded. If your goal is to be happy at work – and successful, for that matter – good cultural fit is crucial. Get a handle on a particular company’s culture by doing some online research.

3. Find purpose

You’re more likely to be happy and engaged at work if you believe you are working toward a worthy goal. Autumn Burns, for instance, is a social media manager for a Nebraska company called Behaven Kids, which provides behavioral health services. Using her skills to support what she sees as a worthwhile pursuit adds purpose to Burns’ job. “I could do social media anywhere,” she said. “I really believe in what they do here.” No matter what field you work in or who your employer is, try to find purpose in what you do. That can range from saving the world to making people happy through good customer service. No purpose is too small. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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