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Sept. 18, 2021, 8:01 p.m. EDT

Bored and stuck in your job? Here’s the secret to being happy at work

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Kerry Hannon

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Your own mission statement “can be the mission of the organization you’re working for and how it aligns with your values or it can be a very personal mission,” Jones notes.

Don’t get hung up on creating big, bold visions, though. Your personal mission can be as basic as taking a job that will help you hone a particular skill or be more productive or use your expertise fully in your work.

“There’s a certain satisfaction in simply getting up and doing your job well and knowing you’ve had a good day at your tasks,” Jones says.

Another of her credos had me humming James Taylor’s well-known tune, “You’ve Got a Friend;” I love this kernel of advice. “Having friends at work can make you happier,” Jones says. “Studies show that teams accomplish more when the co-workers show each other respect, gratitude and integrity. Many successful groups develop a culture that feels much like a family, with lots of communication and a sense of belonging.”

Related: This worker found a new career that transforms lives

Granted, that can be harder when you’re working remotely. But instead of waiting for an opportunity to connect face-to-face with colleagues, says Jones, make it a point to “touch base routinely with each potential friend that you are building a work friendship with, in the spirit of being helpful. It’s also fun to send along articles or mention podcasts you think they might be curious about.”  

Sometimes, feeling in the dumps about your work stems from boredom and monotony. As I wrote in my book “ Love Your Job ,” when people say they’re miserable at work or their boss is difficult, the root of that generally isn’t the job itself or even the boss. They’re just plain bored.

Beverly Jones’ advice for boredom

“Boredom is a feeling kind of like thirst,” Jones tells me. “When you feel thirst, it’s a cue that you need to get a drink of water. Well, when you feel boredom, that’s also a cue that you need to do something.”

Her advice for malaise? “Learn something new or get some exercise so you feel more energized,” Jones advises. “Offer to help a struggling colleague.”

Or, Jones says, start a side gig separate from your  regular  gig.

“It addresses boredom,” she notes. “I’m thinking of a lawyer I know who had a little photography thing on the side. He took headshots mainly, but he was constantly learning about photography and brought that new attitude to his law practice, which had gotten very repetitive and dull. He started seeing things in a new way.”

Through his photography, Jones notes, the lawyer began meeting new people and thinking about himself in a more positive way. “A side gig that you enjoy can make you much more creative and aware in your day job,” says Jones.

Bonus: A side gig can also provide a sense of job security. “It’s knowing that no matter what happens, you have another line of business,” Jones says. “You have another stream of income or are trying to build a career for the future.”

Also read: I’m 52, won’t live past 80 and have $1.6 million. ‘I am tired of both the rat race and workplace politics.’ Should I retire?

Jones is a fan of Ben Franklin — calling him “America’s First Self-Help Guru” in her book — and believes he has some wise counsel for people bored at work, too.

“Franklin teaches us that self-improvement — which means moving closer to the life you want to live and the person you choose to be — requires effort, persistence and the ability to learn from mistakes. But you can do it. We can all choose to live a life closer to our ideal.”

Finally, although Jones delivers 50 ways to boost your joy at work in her book, her mantra is: You don’t have to do everything at once. “If you just take one little step toward one of your goals every day, but you keep doing it,  that  makes a difference,” she says.

Kerry Hannon is the author of “Great Pajama Jobs: Your Complete Guide to Working From Home.” She has covered personal finance, retirement and careers for the New York Times, Forbes, Money, U.S. News & World Report and USA Today, among others. She is the author of more than a dozen books. Her website is kerryhannon.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon.

This article is reprinted by permission from  , © 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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