How to Enjoy Staying Late at Work

staying-late-at-workI remember one winter a few years ago when I had to stay a few hours later at work. It was dark by 5pm. My co-worker also had to stay late. Nothing but grumbling came out of his mouth.

That could have easily been me, but there was one difference.

I felt lucky to have a job.

My co-worker had been with the company two years longer than me. He was a bit jaded to say the least. He complained that he wouldn’t have time for dinner, complained about being tired, and not feeling appreciated.

I felt lucky to have my job because we just went through layoffs. I wasn’t sure I was going to make the cut. I did and was working my butt off to prove I deserved my job. So for me those few extra hours meant I got to prove my worth.

The boss came in and thanked us for staying late.

My co-worker only grumbled more.

I was able to connect with how lucky I was while my friend only saw the hassle of staying late.

Next time you are staying late, instead of getting all stressed out and anxious to go home, try finding those reasons why you feel lucky to be where you are. You’ll reduce frustration, stress, and a chance for a headache. Sometimes dealing with a difficult request gives you a chance to develop patience. Other times it’s a way to focus on relaxing in the moment. And still other times it’s just about feeling lucky to have a job.

Don’t stop searching for that little piece of happiness. Because it’s there.

What do you do when you have to work late?

How do you deal with your emotions?

Ready to start your own Happy at Work Project? Then download the free 12 page PDF and get started today. It also comes with a weekly calender and resolution ideas. Just email me at karl (AT) workhappynow (DOT) com and I’ll send them directly to you. (No Spam. I promise. I hate it with a passion.)


One of the brilliant blogs I’ve been reading is It’s All About Joy. A recent post of Megan’s that I thoroughly enjoyed was Runners, Bloggers and the Power of Applause.

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like these too:

Image courtesy of hawkexpress

15 thoughts on “How to Enjoy Staying Late at Work”

  1. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work

    Karl I work for myself so that line of work, life and play is so blurred that I don’t even see it anymore. Working 7, four-hour days is my preference. But your post is a good one for reminding ourselves to be who we are all the time and see the silver lining. Just last night in the grocery store, a lady was trying to get me to agree to a stance that life sucks and then you die. I asked her “why would you want to create that for yourself?” She was so used to people commiserating with her that she was speechless!

  2. I loved today’s post Karl.

    Several years ago I had a job where I had to stay until 11pm very often (and come back to the office at 8.30 with 90 mins of commute time) and I hated it.

    So I got myself another job that was just as far as this one and paid me teh exact same, except I was guaranteed to leave on time every day (unless something was burning).

    After that, I got myself jobs where my personal time is respected. Maybe I won’t become a CEO but my life outside of work is my priority. That said, if there is an emergency I will gladly stay overtime. It’s only fair.

  3. Really great post. It’s so important to be grateful and it really sounds like you are. Working late sucks, but, if you want to be happy in your life, you have to accept what is (as Bryon Katie says). If you are required to work late, fighting it or complaining about it only makes it worse. It sounds like you handled it well and the next time I’m asked to work late I’m going to think of this post and feel inspired by you!

  4. Unless my husband and I have a date, or other plans, I don’t mind staying late. Overtime is great plus there’s no rush hour when you do finally get out the door!

  5. Great story Karl – what a way to turn this “challenging” situation into a positive one.

    I apply that to other parts of life too – there is always something we can find in our lives, in every moment to be grateful for.

  6. Great post Karl…just what I needed to read. I often have to stay late/come in early for my job and sometimes I need to remember to be thankful, and use these times as ways to hone my patience!

  7. Karl
    It’s all in ones perception and we have the power to change it every time. I think the more spiritually mature one is the easier it is to do. Another great example of our personal power and choices at work and like Evita says all areas of life.

    I also agree with Byron Katie…we only need to “accept what is to be happy.”

  8. When my boss tells me to stay late, I tell him that he’s getting in the way of my blogging time. So far it hasn’t worked, maybe I need a new strategy 🙂

  9. Hi Positively Present, accepting what is, is very hard, but very much worth the effort.

    Hi Hayden, when a person doesn’t feel rushed it’s so much easier to keep stress at a tolerable level.

    Hi Tom, I love how you challenge people to think differently.

    Hi Claudia, personal time must be respected. If I had to stay late every night I don’t think I would last very long. I love my family too much.

    Hi Evita, you are right. There is always some little thing we can be grateful for.

    Hi Emily, hope it helps.

    Hi Tess, perception is the key. If we can find a reason to feel like we should stay late to help a larger cause than it becomes easier to connect with the work.

    Hi Nathan, at least you are trying to set boundaries. That’s good too.

    Hi Patty, when we can work in the now it makes the work so much easier to enjoy.

  10. Hi Karl: Complaining about having to stay late just sours the experience and doesn’t accomplish anything. That being said, as others have pointed out, if it becomes a regular practice, then it’s time to set some proper boundaries.

  11. Hi,
    I love the whole premise of your blog. I try my best to keep a cheerful outlook at work especially these days because I am AT WORK. I have a brother who has been out of a job now for about 6 months and he is really stressed out about it. If I have to stay late I deal with it and get the work done. After than I go home and have a drink and relax. I know that I would be a whole lot more stressed out if I was looking for a job!


  12. Hi Karl,

    My day jobs requires me to stay late. As an attorney, our days on average are 10 hours. Sometimes this can be tough but I am always grateful that I have a job that pays me well and allows me to work on my passion of writing. So it truly is a matter of perception.

  13. I think another way to think about things is to remember it’s temporary. You most likely don’t have to stay late every night! Sometimes I think we get into a spiral of permanency..nothing is permanent…

  14. Pingback: How to Use the 5 Whys to Discover Your True Needs | Work Happy Now!

Comments are closed.