Happiness at Work

Is happiness at work a myth? Can we find happiness in our job, with our boss, or with fellow employees? Is it possible to be happy in a job that we can't stand? 

Once upon a time I had a job that I actually loved. It was an office job. There was enough variety in the work that it kept my interest, I enjoyed hanging out with the other employees, and I liked having to make calls to people all over the country. I did quality work quickly and efficiently AND I was having a good time. Then one day the supervisor fired me. Do you know why? He told me I was too happy! That’s right...I was fired for being too happy! I loved it there, but they wanted me to be somber-faced and submissive to an oppressive management. That’s not my style.

I have a confession to make...when it comes to having a job, my life has been a bit unstable.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. I refused to be in a job where I was not happy, so I was either fired a lot, or I would get fed up and leave a lot.

  2. I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.

Let’s address the second issue first - I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.

What I do for a living now is teach school. Most of my life, I kind of knew that’s what I was supposed to be doing, but I fought it because I thought I wanted to do other things with my life.

I have been a school teacher for 5 years now (that’s a record for me)...and it’s the best job I have ever had!

I teach theater and music at a private academy.

Sure, there are bad days...it happens to everyone. You NEED to have bad days at work so that the good days seem that much sweeter. But even with bad days...I am HAPPY at work.



I once dated a woman who told me that I needed therapy to see why I couldn’t hold down a job. At the end of the session, the therapist told me that there was nothing wrong with me, that I just wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.

Let’s address the other issue - I refused to be in a job where I was not happy.

Just so you know, I CAN be happy in most places. 

One time I got a job being a construction roofer. It started off bad and got worse, so I left and never went back. There was NO WAY to be happy in that job, as hard as I tried. It was GOOD money, too. But I’m not motivated by money. I am motivated by happiness.

Now let’s talk about YOU!

Are you doing what you are supposed to be doing? If not...GET OUT!!

If you are having trouble with your boss...GET OUT!!

If the other employees are not like-minded, and they conspire and belittle you...GET OUT!!

Wait a minute, don’t just jump ship like I did most of my life. It is better if you get the skills, training, or education that you need FIRST. THEN get the job you love. THEN quit* the job you have now. It may take days, weeks, months, or even years. But it is worth it, especially if you have a goal in mind. I was in my late 40s when I finally became a school teacher.

In the mean time, how can you be happy NOW in the workplace?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Find out about the people that you work with, i.e., your boss, the other employees, the owner, etc., and let them know that you appreciate their good qualities. Even if it isn't coming from the boss, most people like to be recognized and complimented for their efforts. This takes the focus off of you, but you'll find that it will come back to you. Think of others before yourself...a true form of happiness.
  2. Try and find joy in the work that you are doing. There are usually possibilities to improve a way of doing things. See if you can find a BETTER way to do the job and improve the company that you're working for as a result.
  3. If possible, face the challenge of trying to make yourself irreplaceable. That way, when you do leave, they will beg you to stay.
    How's that for satisfaction?
  4. Be yourself (unless your job is actor/actress). Many times in the workplace, and I know I am stepping on some toes here, you won't be happy unless you are genuine and true to yourself. I'm stepping on toes because I know that there are jobs where they expect you to be a certain person...but that person is NOT you. And you know that you won't be able to keep your job unless you are that NON-you person. No wonder you aren't happy!

We have to find our happiness place, whether at home, at play, or at WORK!! If you are not happy at work, remedy your situation. You, your family, and your friends, need YOU to be happy. You can do it!!

*If you are absolutely miserable in the job that you have now, get out ASAP! There are other options for you, i.e., scholarships, grants, student loans, family members or friends that know your plight and can help you out. If you are completely miserable where you work, it is very difficult to hold on to future hopes, let alone being happy. Sometimes being homeless is better than being beaten down by co-workers, bosses, and terrible work environments. (Plus being homeless gives you motivation to do something else immediately...believe me, I know!)

I realize that this is a harder thing to do when you have family, especially children, who are relying on you, so make the WISE decisions, but MAKE them...don’t just sit around and daydream about them.

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