When Do You Decide Whether or Not You are Happy at Work?


When you just got a raise?

When you had a fight with a co-worker?

When a client tears you a new one because they had a bad day?

When you completed a tough project?

When you slept 4 hours the night before?

There are so many ways to judge our happiness at work, but it really requires a focused mind to reflect and decide on the right things.

You have to take your present moment emotion out of it and look at the big picture. Really look at the work that you do, the people you work with, and how you are developing yourself at work.

Most of us decide we hate our jobs when things are terrible, but there are always low points. There are always those days when our co-worker eats a big burrito and won’t stop farting.

You have to stop letting those moments wreck the rest of your day. Your happiness is yours. Don’t let anyone else dictate how you feel.

Need a boost to your work happiness. Then check out Happy at Work Project and start one yourself.


J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly has a blog that doesn’t get the hype that it deserves. It’s called Folded Space. J.D. is an excellent writer. His personal stories are soft yet biting. I don’t know how he does it, but I’m studying his writing and trying to incorporate it into my own. Check out one of my latest favorites “Consumed: The Burden of Writing a Book.” Just the way he starts pulls you in and forces you to read more.

If you enjoyed this blog post you’ll adore these (I hope πŸ™‚

Image courtesy of abbyladybug.

9 thoughts on “When Do You Decide Whether or Not You are Happy at Work?”

  1. Great post! Happiness is a choice and you can choose to be happy at work no matter what. Of course, this is a lot easier if you’ve just completed a big project or received a raise… πŸ™‚

  2. That’s so true, Karl. I remember having to force myself to step back from bad days at work and remind myself of the goodness I had. The flexibility to come in whenever I wanted (more or less), to do what I needed to do without being micromanaged, to be paid good money for relatively easy work… Those bad days, while tough in the moment, passed. And there were definitely some bad days that had me calculating whether or not I could afford to quit my job!
    Big picture is always a good way to go — the 30,000 foot view.
    I enjoyed reading this; thanks!

  3. Hi Karl,

    I think it’s true that we probably all do have moments or bad days where we decide we hate our jobs and we’re not happy. In those moments it probably is wise, as Megan points out, to step back,look at the bigger picture and decide to be happy and appreciative of having a job that is, on balance, a good place to work, etc. I’m going to respectfully disagree with Positively Present and gently suggest that there might be some situations (e.g., the office culture has taken a decidedly unpleasant turn, being bullied, discovering that you really are not at all enthused about your job anymore or that it–and the culture–are no longer a good fit) where deciding to be happy is probably more dangerous than acknowledging where you’re at with your unhappy feelings.

    If there is some reason that the work place is beginning to trigger a lot of stress, anxiety, or depressive symptoms (and all steps to improve things just don’t seem to be making a difference), I think its the body and soul giving you very clear signals that something about the work or the environment is really not working for you at a fundamental level. At that point, the best thing you can do is admit this to yourself and take care of yourself–including coming up with a plan to get out before you really do get sick, depressed, etc, and it becomes even more difficult to find work, or a new employer,that you do feel happy with. Sometimes happiness means knowing when to walk away from a situation and preferably as graciously as possible.

    I’ve learned this the hard way over the last year and a half, and while it’s been more than a bit painful at times, I’ve learned some valuable lessons for which I’m grateful–albeit somewhat grudgingly at the moment. I’m now taking the time to heal,figure out my purpose, and figure out how to create or find work that empowers me to do my best work and make a positive contribution to the world.

  4. Hi Positively Present, We decide how to look at our circumstances.

    Hi Megan, Everything looks beautiful at 30,000 feet. πŸ™‚

    Hi Sue, When we are in a bad working position it can be tough to enjoy. That’s when we have to make the tough choice and find a new job. That’s how we take control of our happiness. I’m glad you are discovering what your purpose is, but remember don’t contemplate too long. I believe in just going for what you are feeling now and if it doesn’t fit then find something new.

  5. Karl, Thanks for this post. Again, you’ve provided me with some insight when I needed it. Lately I’ve been really down on my job because it seems like one project after another is dreadful. I do, however, still work for a great company with more friends than I’ve ever had at a workplace. I need to turn my attitude around.

  6. Hi Karl: You’re absolutely right that you need to think about the big picture of your job instead of allowing yourself to be sucked into a pity party because a couple of things went wrong on any one particular day. Thank goodness I never had problems with farting co-workers. πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Karl,

    It truly is a matter of perspective. I think there are days at work when things are not that wonderful but nothing lasts forever and usually the next day is better. I think the core motivation is what is more important.

    If someone loves what they do, then it will be easier to deal with the days when things are somewhat rough. But if someone does not love their job, then they are more inclined to be effected by the natural lows.

  8. I agree with Sue. As someone who spent years unhappy it was not just a matter of choosing happiness. I’ve learned since leaving the corporate world my unhappiness went so much deeper than that. You do have to acknowledge the unhappiness before you can become happy or at least satisfied on a day to day basis.

    And if someone had told me to suck it up because I had a job that paid well, I would have rebelled even more. πŸ™‚

    I do believe it is within our control, however, to take appropriate steps toward more daily satisfaction. It just might take a little longer to find.

  9. It’s great to focus on the good, but it’s a balance. People need to be able to admit that a job isn’t working and it’s good, even healthy to feel that. But once a person realizes that, a new job might not just POOF from thin air. In the time it takes to find a new job, it can be helpful to focus on the good.

    I speak from experience – I have a job that, given all circumstances, I am lucky to have. However, it’s not a fit at all. I tried to gloss over it, but when my body started to rebell against the stress, I had to listen.

    I would say – listen to yourself and follow what you hear. But, know that finding the right thing can be hard and, while you are working it out, it can’t hurt to look at the good.

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