In average, people spend 90,000 hours at work in their lifetimes. Spending it with negative energy has an effect on people around you (coworkers, family). Also, it might lead to less quality time by moaning over workplace problems of starting mental preparations for the working week on Sunday already, as Alexander Kjierulf, Chief Happiness Officer and Founder of Woohoo inc said.

Doing this on long term might also have consequences on your health including general physical conditions and lifestyle habits, along with diminishing self-confidence, anxiety, stress, setting insufficient goals (thus not reaching your full potential) and more.

Is it worth it?

While the first obvious thought in such a situation is to change your job, we know that it’s not always an option. And let’s be honest – a small tweak can sometimes also do wonders. 🙂

Here are 7 hacks to find happiness in a job you hate. #Happinessify Click To Tweet


#1. Find new details

Sometimes we focus so much on how we hate our job that we fail to notice what we love about it. So ask yourself the question:

  • What aspect of your job do you love?

Sometimes it’s about noticing a detail that you haven’t paid attention to eg. how you love the aspect of collaborating with other teams or the autonomy you get – and reinforcing that aspect:

  • How can you look at your work with a fresh eye, what details have you never noticed?
  • How can you savor the process?

What if you would view your job from a different angle or add a new perspective? Here are some helping questions:

  • How can you make your work lighter, more fun?
  • How would an 8-year-old find your job interesting? (Kids have a different take on things and looking at your job from a kid’s perspective might lead you to new insights.)
  • What new perspective can you adopt to see your work in a different angle?


#2. Break the routine

Especially if you’ve been working for the same company or in the same position for long, you might have developed a certain routine. Have you noticed? When you start your work day the same way, when you tackle situations the same way, when you start solving problems the same way…

There’s a power in there, but also a danger. Too much routine? Uh-oh!

  • How can you do thing differently or use a different angle?

A great example for this is my 8-year-old son. When he fills out tests multiple times or even when he’s coloring, I noticed that he always starts differently. From the beginning, from the end, from left, from right. When I asked him once for the reason he simply told me “I love variety”. Sweet! 🙂

  • How can you diversify your work, change the rhythm or use new tools?

Maybe it’s just a different work rhythm you need to destress you a bit or learning a new tool or software to do the same task, but still, differently.

  • What initiatives can you take to make your work more enjoyable? 

Your company might be working with the same tools and technologies for a decade, just because of habit or because no one is questioning the status quo. Let it not be you! Explore new ways and especially if they are also a productive way, you’ll find a listening ear in your boss, guaranteed.


#3. Find meaning

My husband works for a giant organization employing thousands of people. Despite a pretty repetitive and manual job, he is happy every morning when he leaves for work. When I asked him how he finds happiness in his work, he said that he takes pride in serving people. He looks at the big picture and sees his contribution – that’s what makes him get up from bed day after day…

…A beautiful example that illustrates well the point of looking at what you can do to be happy, instead of expecting the company to make you happy. So here are some questions to explore:

  • How is your work important for the whole of the company? What’s your contribution?
  • How could you contribute more efficiently?
  • What’s the meaning of your work for you?

Experiencing joy at work or finding meaning in it is not a matter of truth, but a matter of perspectives. This is also well reflected in the story of the three men laying bricks.

Find meaning in your work, like in the story of the three men laying bricks. #Happinessify Click To Tweet

When the first one was asked what he was doing, he said “I am laying bricks”. When the second one was asked, he said “I am building a wall”. The third one answered “I am building a cathedral”. Same work, different purpose, different perspective. That’s how powerful finding the meaning in your work can be.


#4. Cut out negativity

Have you ever worked in a toxic place (or heard of such) – where people spend time with negative talk, gossiping, jealousy and competition? I once have. I had a stomach ache every morning when preparing to go to work. Not nice! So here’s my question to you:

  • How does negativity manifest at your work? List all examples that come up for you – people, situations and places. Now divide them into two categories – those you can control or influence and those you cannot. What action can you take to control or influence the first group of items on your list?

There’s no sense in focusing your energies on changing things you cannot control or even moaning about them. That will only create more negative energy in you. And as you victimize yourself, your natural resources are less creative, so solutions (ways to influence the first group of items on your list) will be more difficult to be found. My best piece of advice for this is –

Accept what you cannot control. #Happinessify Click To Tweet
  • How can you replace negativity and toxic relationships with more empowering attitude and relationships? 

For instance, you can avoid gossiping which is unproductive negative talk.

You can stop comparing yourself to others and be jealous of your colleagues’ success. Or you can drop the past and let go of old grudges you have towards colleagues (by the way, a very useful thing to do in every area of your life).


#5. Change your environment and habits

Sometimes it also helps to create an “oasis” you can hide to for when the next storm comes. And for that, you might want to tidy up your work environment a bit:

  • How can you make your environment more positive and supportive?

For instance by re-arranging your work environment, by adding some photos, sticky notes or an empowering quote to be read when negative things hit in.

  • What new habits can you create to make your workplace experience more enjoyable?

For instance, I had a workplace with a very stressful sales job. The whole office had enormous pressure from the management and there was a pretty big negativity installed. Me and another optimistic colleague took the habit of going out for lunch together. We wouldn’t talk about work, but about other things in life and mainly, we were laughing a lot. These lunch breaks were incredibly energizing and helped me in coping at a difficult time of my life.


#6. Do more of what you like

Do the VIA Character Strengths Test. This will rank your strengths. Now look at the top ones:

  • How can you use your top strengths to find more joy in your work?
  • How can you do more of what you love every day?
How can you use your top strengths at work and do more of what you like? #Happinessify Click To Tweet

And most importantly:

  • What initiatives can you take to use more your strengths?

After 5 years spent in recruitment consulting I started to get tired of the sales aspect of the job. At the same time, I enrolled in a coaching school and realized that I loved doing every form or training and coaching. So I took the initiative to do induction trainings for newcomers and do desktop coaching for junior staff. This was not remunerated extra, but added a lots of value and meaning to my work.


#7. Set mini goals

Last but not least:

  • What goals can you set for yourself for work that when achieved, will make you feel proud or increase your well-being?

It doesn’t have to a big goal. Maybe it’s getting 5 positive feedbacks from coworkers… Or getting a smile from 10 coworkers… Or learning something industry-related from your clients… Or leading a meaningful conversation in a coffee break… Or list 5 things to laugh about. Every mini goal counts! Science says that achieving goals increases our well-being, so ready… steady…go! 🙂


Wanna get more Happiness Hacks? Take the Happiness Challenge now.


Now your turn! What other tips would you give to someone to get happier in a work they hate, apart from changing job 🙂 ? Comment us below.