The 5 ways you can be happier at work (even if you don't like your job).

We’ve all met them. The overly demanding boss, the hypersensitive colleague, the customer who can’t be pleased.

Difficult people really can make life at work difficult; if we choose to let them that is. The simple truth is, no matter how challenging people or circumstances become, happiness at work really is up to you.

How we choose to perceive and respond to the world is what determines our happiness. Put simply, how we choose to think, feel and behave dictates the happiness we experience in life.

Among the most important choices you can make to influence your own happiness at work include:

Manage your energy.

When drained of energy we are all entirely more likely to think, feel and act in ways that undermine our success. Working long and hard without taking the breaks you need, for example, is likely to drain your spirit and erode your happiness over time. Start with looking after your body. Adequate sleep, food and water are all essential to maintaining happiness.

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Choose to connect.

Take the time to get the know the people you work with. Having friends at work can have big influence on our sense of belonging and ultimately happiness. While not everyone is likely to be the type of person you enjoy spending time with, look for those you can relate to and make the effort to connect with them.

Choose your attitude.

We all have the power to choose what we invest energy in. Recognise when you are choosing to focus solely on what’s wrong, rather than all of the things you can be grateful for. No job or employer is likely to be perfect so don’t expect them to be.

Choose to speak up.

All too often I observe people wallowing in issues that are troubling them without raising their concerns with the people who can do something about it. While it can be confronting to raise concern, the simple reality is unless we voice how we are feeling we have little to no influence on our circumstances.


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But if it’s getting impossible…

If you’re in a role you simply don’t like, the chances of you being happy are slim. Be honest with yourself about the extent to which you enjoy your job and whether it’s the right one for you. While changing direction can be undeniably challenging, staying where you are, isn’t a workable solution if being happy at work matters to you.

Reflect on the choices you are making and the extent to which you are helping yourself create the work life you want. Sitting back wishing, hoping or praying that things will change, won’t get you to where you want to be.

If you’re unhappy at work, you need to do something about it. The simple truth is if you want your circumstances to change, you need to get into the driver’s seat and make things happen.

Karen Gately, a founder of HR Consultancy Ryan Gately, is a leadership and people-management specialist. She is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical guide to getting the best from people (Wiley) and The Corporate Dojo: Driving extraordinary results through spirited people. For more information visit or contact