Mallory Welsh, LCSW

I work with many clients who are unhappy at their job. Whether they are unhappy due to the work they’re doing, the environment they work in, their coworkers, or maybe for some, all three of those things at once. As their clinical therapist, I help the clients both understand reasons why they are unhappy at their job and then also possible coping strategies for managing this unhappiness feeling at work.

I recently read an article from The New York Times that touched on this very topic. Author Tim Herrera describes, “A Deceptively Simple Way to Find More Happiness at Work”. Herrera describes an interesting strategy to find some more moments of happiness while at work. He is specifically speaking to people that are intending on staying at their current job, not necessarily those that are looking for a career change.

Below are the key points from his article.

  • What do you like to do at work? Herrera suggests to write down a list of tasks you genuinely enjoy doing at work. Whether that means engaging with your coworkers, the environment, the projects you are on, the face to face contact with clients, whatever it may be, as we all have different interests!
  • What do you not like to do at work? He also suggests to write down another list, quite the opposite, of tasks you do not like doing at work. He points out from another article that 1/3 of the population in the states actually do not feel engaged while at work. If you are someone who does not like their work, you most certainly are not alone!
  • Small changes go a long way. Herrera also points out another interesting statistic from Mayo Clinic in which physicians who reported only enjoying 20% of the work day had a significant low risk for burnout. What I found most interesting is that those who had 50% enjoyment in work did not have much of a difference in burn out compared to those that enjoyed 20% of their work. Thus, you don’t need to make significant changes at work to find some meaningful moments and joy doing the work you do.
  • Job transformation suggestions. When I work with clients who are dissatisfied in their job, I often provide them with four different suggestions depending on their reasons they are unhappy (as that can certainly vary from client to client): explore different career options, find a project/task that can enhance your enjoyment at work, find a new role/position at your company, and also finding ways to bring joy in your life before or after work, or maybe a coffee/lunch break during your work day.
  • “Find a job you love, and you never have to work another day.” Well, not exactly. Ashley Goodall, senior vice president of leadership and team intelligence as Cisco appears to have similar advice as I do when it comes to exploring career happiness. She states that it is successful people who love their job are the people that took a job at the beginning and overtime created new parts along the way that brought them happiness and fulfillment.
  • Not easy. Of course, it takes time to have a job and have it transformed into a job you love. Being mindful with the exercise of writing out what you love and don’t love about your job, can be part of the process of transforming your job into a job that brings you joy and meaningful moments.

If you are currently struggling with finding happiness at your job it may be a good idea to connect with one of our skilled counselors at Symmetry Counseling today. You can contact them at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment.