Ask Beverly Jones, author of the precious new book, Find Your Happy at Work, to describe a time when she was happiest at work, and Jones immediately smiles. It was, she says, when she was a graduate student at Ohio University as a paid assistant to the president, looking for opportunities for more equality of opportunity on campus for women.
“Back then, women couldn't take some courses, such as engineering,” recalls Jones, now a Washington, D.C. Resident career coach for executives. “Many courses did not accept women. It was something that was really close to my heart. I had absolutely no idea how to do it, so I had to do it every day, but it was one of the most intense times of my life. "
The reason for this, says Jones (one of my favorite career experts, fellow Labrador retriever and longtime friend) is that "getting things done and making a difference is a great strategy when everything feels boring at work."
The secret of happiness at work
But there is more to it than that. “One of the secret to success, and ultimately happiness at work, is often being comfortable with your own discomfort,” says Jones. "I am a cautious person by nature and have learned to ask myself: 'Am I afraid because this is stupid and dangerous, or am I afraid because it is an opportunity and I have to overcome the discomfort?" "
In Find Your Happy at Work, the subtitle of which is "50 Ways to Get Lost, Get Lost, Move Past Boredom and Discover Fulfillment," Jones addressed an issue that many workers, including myself, have been dealing with since the pandemic began have dealt with. We're stressed, a little nervous about the future of our work, and maybe a little burned out.
I recently visited Jones to experience her refreshing and up-to-date insights into happiness in a frank conversation that addresses some of the main themes of her latest book.
"Some of the people who have had the biggest problems (lately) seem to be up to the situation and find purpose in their jobs," says Jones. “Even in a difficult job, like working in a hospital emergency room or struggling to help people who are going through a mental or health crisis, there can be some kind of joy and meaning. It's not funny, giggling, kind of happy. It's a feeling that life matters and time goes by quickly, and it feels good. "
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Jones discovered through research in her book, as well as through her bi-weekly podcast “Jazzed About Work” on NPR.org and sessions with clients during COVID-19, “that there is a common sense that work should be meaningful and that a healthy lifestyle should be. "She says." There is a new feeling that we deserve to have a rewarding working life that connects well with the rest of our lives – especially for people over 50. "
A way to loosen up at work
One essential way to get loose in your work, Jones notes: building new relationships with interesting people, whether or not they are related to your job. “These human connections can bring energy to your life, but they can also alert you to opportunities and inspire you by learning from others,” she says.
Of course, Jones is referring to networking, which is a disgusting concept to some in the 50s and 60s.
“I know people of a certain age when you use the word 'networking' and they think, 'Look, I don't have time to see my friends now,'” she says. "But the reality is that as you get older it is more important than ever to have a diverse network that connects you with people of all generations and with people in a variety of activities that may not have been yours."
That human power is “important to aging happily. It is important for anyone who has an interest in continuing to work later in life. And it's important for people who really want to retire and look for other avenues, even unpaid work in another area, ”says Jones.
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What is your personal mission statement?
She also firmly believes that a strong, internalized personal model can make the workplace more enjoyable.
"It's easier to love your job when you're working for something that matters more than just a paycheck," says Jones. “Even a boring job can be worth it if you have a good reason for the job, such as: B. save to take your kids to college. "
Your own mission statement “can be the mission of the organization you work for and how it aligns with your values, or it can be a very personal mission,” notes Jones.
However, don't get caught up in creating big, bold visions. Your personal mission can be as simple as taking on a job that will help you improve a certain skill, be more productive, or fully bring your expertise to your job.
“There is some satisfaction in just getting up and doing your job and knowing that you had a good day doing your chores,” says Jones.
Another of their credos made me hum James Taylor's famous song "You & # 39; ve Got a Friend"; I love this core of advice. “Having friends at work can make you happier,” says Jones. “Studies show that teams achieve more when colleagues show each other respect, gratitude and integrity. Many successful groups develop a culture that feels like family, with a lot of communication and belonging. "
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Granted, this can be more difficult when you're working remotely. But instead of waiting for an opportunity to meet face-to-face with coworkers, Jones said, “You should routinely reach out to any potential friend you make working friends with for help. It's also fun to include articles or mention podcasts that you think might be curious. "
Sometimes boredom and monotony lead to throwing yourself in the trash at work. As I wrote in my book Love Your Job, when people say that they feel unhappy at work or that their boss is difficult is generally not in the job itself or even in the boss. You just get bored.
Beverly Jones’s advice against boredom
"Boredom feels like thirst," says Jones. “When you feel thirsty, it is a sign that you need to drink water. Well, if you feel bored, that is also a sign that you have to do something. "
Your advice against malaise? “Learn something new or work out to make you feel more energetic,” advises Jones. "Offer to help a colleague who is in trouble."
Or, as Jones says, start a side gig that's separate from your regular gig.
“It speaks to boredom,” she notes. “I think of a lawyer I know who had a bit of photography on the side. He mostly did headshots, but he was constantly learning about photography and bringing that new attitude into his legal practice, which had become very repetitive and boring. He started to see things in a new way. "
Through his photography, says Jones, the lawyer met new people and thought more positively about himself. “A part-time job that you enjoy can make you much more creative and aware in your job,” says Jones.
Bonus: A part-time job can also convey a sense of job security. "It's knowing that no matter what, you have a different line of business," says Jones. "You have another source of income or you are trying to build a career for the future."
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Jones is a fan of Ben Franklin – he calls him "America's First Self-Help Guru" in her book – and believes he also has wise advice for people who are bored at work.
“Franklin teaches us that self improvement – which means getting closer to the life you want to live and the person you want to be – requires effort, perseverance, and the ability to learn from mistakes. But you can do it. We can all choose to live a life that is closer to our ideal. "
Although Jones shows 50 ways to increase your enjoyment of work in her book, her mantra is: You don't have to do everything at once. "If you take one small step towards one of your goals each day and keep doing it again and again, it makes a difference," she says.
Kerry Hannon is the author of Great Pajama Jobs: Your Complete Guide to Working from Home. She has worked for the New York Times, Forbes, Money, U.S. News & World Report and USA Today cover personal finance, retirement and careers. She is the author of more than a dozen books. Their website is kerryhannon.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon.
This article is reprinted with permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.
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