Happiness. It seems so allusive. In fact many people never even find happiness. It can mean so many different things to different people. If I asked you if you were happy what would you say? You might point out different aspects or things in your life that made you happy. Your children, family, maybe a hobby. How about the place where you spend most of your time? Work.. think about it, we usually spend more time at work than we do with our own families so if you’re miserable you’re probably pretty darn miserable. Whether it be your actual job duties, the people you work with, your commute, lack of appreciation, office politics the list goes on.
I’ve had some really awesome jobs and ones that weren’t so great. The one that wasn’t so great? I could tell right away that it wasn’t a good fit but I had just moved to a new city and needed to pay the rent + bills + eat. My commute sucked (hour to an hour and a half one way depending on traffic and the status of the construction) I didn’t fit in personality wise with my coworkers (conversations were limited and awkward AF) and I never had the training I was promised. I was thrown to the wolves as they say in what I would describe as the twilight zone. Every single day was filled with anxiety for me. I consulted with my family and they would give me pep talks which would help until Sunday night came which is when the dread would wash back over me.
How unhappy was I? Enough to make a change ASAP. I couldn’t just quit because bills had to be paid but I also knew a plan had to be made to get myself the hell out of there. My unhappiness from work was bleeding into my personal life and I was becoming someone I didn’t even recognize. To me, the line had been drawn. This was my life and I had the power to make a change, even if it wasn’t immediate. Was this what I went to school for? To be miserable day in and day out for 10 vacation days a year? I knew there had to be more out there and I wasn’t going to settle.
So, I ask you, how much of your happiness are you sacrificing in your job? In fact when was the last time you asked yourself if you are happy?
Let’s start here…
What’s keeping you there? Maybe you’re just unfulfilled creatively but have an outside hobby that fulfills that creative part of you. Maybe the money is just too good so you suck up everything you hate because well, I get it, money is money and doesn’t grow on trees. Maybe you have larger responsibilities and you have to stay to fulfill those. Or maybe you’re just comfortable and afraid of change. Fear can hold us back trust me I know all about it. We all stay for various reasons so no judgment here.
Happiness isn’t something we should hope to find at the end of our journey it’s something we must cultivate throughout our journey. If your work doesn’t make you happy don’t waste another second being miserable.
So how do you know if you’re happy? You need to be 100% honest with yourself. What are your true feelings towards work? If you had just won the lottery, and we’re quitting your job tomorrow, what would you say in your exit interview? (You can write this down but keep it private. Again be honest and don’t hold back here.)
What’s your line in the sand? It would be something that you can’t and won’t tolerate anymore that will prompt you enough to make a change. For me it was how I was turning into someone I didn’t recognize and having my unhappiness bleed into my personal life. What’s your? This could be not being present (physically and mentally) at events for loved ones, too much anxiety or depression, regret, fractured relationships, unhealthy habits.. the list goes on but truly think about what your line in the sand looks like and stick to it. Don’t compromise here.
A lot of people are unhappy at work but are you unhappy enough to step out of your comfort zone and live your life on your own terms?
If so..then what?
You need to write down your must haves, goals and make a plan. Making a plan will help lift that heavy cloud a bit and increase your happiness in your current situation because you know that your are taking actual steps to move on from your current situation. Sometimes we feel so stuck and hopeless in our current situation that we become paralyzed and don’t do anything at all to change it. Coming up with your must haves, goals and a plan to reach those goals will replace the hopelessness with hopefulness and light that fire in you that’s been so deeply buried.
I’ve created a worksheet to help you take the first steps on creating the life that you want. Helping you cultivate your happiness throughout your journey.. starting now!