(Re)Discovering Joy at Work


Do what you love. Love what you do.

That’s the advice people get when it comes to finding meaningful work. But, what happens when you don’t quite love your job? What if you’re stuck in a position you’re not passionate about? Or, maybe you do love what you do, but the negative work environment and interpersonal relationships feel toxic.

The average American employee works over two thousand hours a year. There’s no need to waste those hours wishing you were somewhere else. According to multiple recent studies, job satisfaction rates have been high in the past few years, and if you’re not feeling highly satisfied, it’s time you find more joy at work.

Don’t Put Up Walls

When you’re unhappy at work, one of the easiest things to do is retreat. Maybe you don’t trust your colleagues. Maybe you’re just cautious or feel uncomfortable being vulnerable. How can joy get in when you’re so walled off? There are many ways to reach out to colleagues and develop relationships, but if you’re feeling anxious, start small. Say hello to people you don’t often speak with. Bring in mini muffins to share in the breakroom. Just take a step to not be so isolated.

Complete Assignments

Feeling overworked or overwhelmed is a joy killer. So, instead of focusing on your long-term projects or goals, make a daily to do list, and keep it short. Can you create a list with 3 to 5 small goals every morning? Accomplishing those little items will make you feel proud of yourself, and give you that jolt of joy you get when you actually complete something. Little actions snowball into big ones, and in no time, you’ll feel pleased as large project get completed, too.

Relish the Little Moments

Did your coworker swing by your desk this morning with a coffee made exactly as you like it? Maybe your boss told you to take off from work a half hour early or the small team you work on decided to throw a potluck dinner after a large project ends. These little moments should be treasured. If you’re looking for joy, start here. Live in the moment.

Suggest Joyful Moments

Do you work in a boring office environment? Have the fun times come much less often than they used to? Be the change. Set up Jenga in the lunchroom. Walk around asking different coworkers to complete a Mad Libs, and then email the final results to your entire office. Soon, your entire team will catch the fun bug.

Who Should You Spend Your Time With?

By now, you know how quickly your energy can drain when you’re around someone who contstantly complains or badmouths other coworkers. Conversely, you also know how uplifted you feel when you position yourself near the kind, caring office motivator. Choose who you spend your time with wisely. Yes, a watercooler chat after a meeting might feel like a way to vent frustrations, but you don’t want to fall into a cycle of negative conversations. Don’t play workplace politics. Be positive and look for the positive, and you’ll find the joy in your day-to-day.