As you might have read in my “Anticipation” blog on April 20th, I held a talk about being happy at work on Nantucket recently.
It was a great audience—they asked a lot of good questions and many of the folks also shared their thoughts about being happy at work. The hour raced by!
One participant shared her story about how she made changes in her work life when she was disenchanted with the direction her work was going. She found herself spending more and more time on administration and less time doing the counseling work she loved. As a result, she decided to leave her “day job” and be a full-time artist, which is her passion. Unfortunately, she could not make enough money with her art and she returned to the work she left.
But here’s the difference that she generously shared with the audience, “I knew I had to accept the administrative parts of work that I disliked. It was a fact and I was not going to change it. I decided to accept it, instead of being unhappy about it.”
And here’s the part I loved: “When I came back, I filled my office with my art to remind me why I was working. I wanted a visible reminder that would motivate me to accept the parts of my work that, while I didn’t love them, was worth the trade-off.”
Her message reinforced for me two things that have made a difference to me about being happy at work:
- Understanding what makes me happy—and what doesn’t
- Changing what I can—and accepting what I can’t
As I’ve said before—no job is perfect. We all have parts of our work we dislike. The key is that these times should be 10-20% of our workday, not 70 or 80%. And, the only way we can ever minimize the unhappy moments is to be very aware of what makes us unhappy.
On a side note, I want to say thank you to everyone who attended my talk—I can assure you that I got as much out of it as I hope you did!