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10 Ways to Make Your Job More Enjoyable

About 50 percent of Americans are not satisfied with their jobs, according to a 2005 report by The Conference Board, with about one-quarter of the U.S. workforce being so dissatisfied that they're "simply showing up to collect a paycheck."

job satisfaction enjoyment

One of the first things you can do to make your job more enjoyable is to make sure you know what's expected of you.

"Traditionally, we've accepted the notion that no matter how much we love that new job, eventually we'll lose our motivation and start feeling frustrated, discontented and angry," says Judi Neal, associate professor of management at the University of New Haven.

But for your health and sanity's sake, it shouldn't be that way.

"It's important to the human soul and our overall health and well-being that we love our work and find renewal and growth in what we do for a living," says Neal.

Fortunately, no matter what your job, or your satisfaction level with said job, there are a number of ways to turn your daily grind from dull and predictable to invigorating and enjoyable.

  1. Get a thorough job description. "If you don't have a job description, ask for one, and make sure you and your employer understand and agree. Do everything you can to learn about your company's history, mission, and unique culture. Understand company policies, principles of conduct, dress code, and general business etiquette," says Melinda Howard Erickson, author of "How to Work Smart! And Enjoy Your Job."

    Why is this so important? Because if you're not sure what your job entails, you'll have a hard time doing it well. Knowing what you're supposed to be doing means you can do your job to the best of your ability, something that will give you self-satisfaction and a better shot at promotions.

  2. Identify your company's values. Once you get a hold of the "big picture" goal your company stands for, you may feel more motivated to take part in it and help to achieve the common mission (assuming it's not something that contradicts with your own values).

  3. Appreciate what the company has to offer. You may not be getting a big pension or health care allowance, but it helps to look at what your company does give you. Does their name help you to get clients? Do their resources help you to work on projects that would otherwise be out of reach? These are all things to take into consideration.

  4. Stay open-minded and flexible. It's easy to get caught up in a rut at work, where you do the same things day-in and day-out, and feel uncomfortable at the thought of making changes. Making an effort to be flexible means that you'll have an easier time adapting to your company's (inevitably) changing structures, and your open-mindedness will make others want to work with you.

    "Be open to the improvements in your work environment," says Erickson. "They'll likely make your job more pleasant and you don't want to be left behind!"

  5. Is a Fear of Success Holding You Back?

    Fear of Success

    A "fear of success" is more common than you might think. People wonder if, upon meeting their goals, they'll still feel happy, their relationships will change, their co-workers will still like them, and a myriad of other "what ifs."

    Take the following quiz to find out if you are afraid of success, and if so, which factors may be contributing to your fear.

    Take the Quiz Now: Are You Afraid of Success?

  6. Work hard and find your niche. Getting recognition at work is essential to enjoying your job, and this is gained by making yourself stand out from the crowd. Putting in some effort, and developing a special set of skills that sets you apart, will ensure that you feel appreciated and valued.

  7. Work with your co-workers. Feeling that you have a team to work with can help your self-esteem and morale, give you a sense of camaraderie, and it can also help to reach your company's goal.

  8. Keep yourself "marketable." Feeling insecure in a particular job can lead to high levels of tension and stress, but if you remain marketable much of this will be relieved (and you'll feel more at ease, and probably be more productive, with your current position). Keep your contacts strong, never burn bridges, and consider going on a few job interviews each year, just to stay in practice and know what else is out there.

  9. Talk to your manager about concerns or ideas. If you have a great idea for the company, share it with a manager. This will boost your sense of autonomy and show that you're enthusiastic about the company. Meanwhile, if something is upsetting you at work, let your manager know. If you don't say anything, you'll likely feel worse and worse about it, while discussing it may resolve the problem entirely.

  10. Identify the difference you're making. Every job makes a difference in the world, and identifying the significance in your job can be highly motivating. Do you help kids to learn? Develop new products? Promote a worthy organization? Figure out what you're doing to make a difference and keep that in perspective as you work.

  11. Realize that you can influence your job. Your job will only control you to the point that you let it. If you are motivated and willing to put in the effort, you can very much define the job you're in, how it makes you (and those around you) feel, and where your career path takes you. But you must be bold, positive and eager to take on the challenge of doing your job with compassion and a good attitude.

Recommended Reading

The 10 Best Careers -- By Starting Salary, Best Benefits, Job Satisfaction & More

12 Signs it is REALLY Time to Leave Your Job


The Conference Board

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