We all want to be happy at work.  And quite frankly, if you are not, and you can get out of it…by all means go. 

You’d be doing yourself and your health a great favor, and possibly a favor to your co-workers.

Now, I know in this economy, quitting a job is near insanity.  There are few out there, and plenty of people willing to take them.

Happiness at work depends on many things, how much you like what you do, probably being the first on the list.

But, there are others as well. 

Researchers tell us that you work space is important.

We’re no longer in the 1800s, and OSHA as annoying as it can be really has done some good work in the area of safety. 

Some things to look for:

Eyestrain causes, the lighting might be all wrong – if you can put your hand over your eyes as though you were shading them at the beach, where you really want to be, and theyfeel better, mention to the boss that the lights are too bright!

What about that chair?  Make sure you find the perfect fit if it’s adjustable.  If not, you might want to invest your own cash.  I know you shouldn’t have to, but it’s your back afterall.  Sit UP straight; good posture is called “good” for a reason!

Add some personal touches, a nice lamp, one or two pictures of the family…don’t go crazy!  How ’bout a phone head set, or one of those fat head rests for the receiver?  Loose the candy jar, and you may loose a few pounds, and keep the riff-raff away!*  Keep your workspace tidy, it will create the illusion that you’re neat, have a clean home, make people willing to eat the dishes you bring into work, and make folks think you’re organized.  Careful of this one, the boss might think you don’t have enough to do.  Leave just enough out to look “on the border of frazzled”.

Organize your day.  Plan your work, and work your plan.  

If you can avoid it, never say ‘yes’ on the  telephone the first time.  Say ‘I’ll have to check.’ or ‘I’ll get back to you.”   We all want to make people happy and look like we care, but often you have to see if you can fit that project into your schedule of if you have the wherewithall to do it at all.  It might really not be your job to do what is asked.

Put the fires out quickly.  Nuke the pesky emails and hard to handle phone calls.  Once the hurdles are jumped, the rest of the day will be better.

Check your self honesty.  Make sure you’re working at the level you think you are and at the level you want to project.  Are you spending excess time on the internet (ouch!) the phone, or checking with Mama?  And make sure you’re doing your job and not a task that belongs to someone else.

Go outside at least once a day.  Walk, jog, run, speed through town on your bike or in your Beemer.  But get OUT.  Sunlight, daylight, fresh air, smog.  It’s all good for ya!  Simply because it’s not inside.  This I’m pretty religious about…I always go off property if possible.   But if you can’t get out, at least take a break every hour or so.  Some researchers recommend every hour.  That may be excessive.  A breather, yes, a break probably not.  At school, I walk around the hall during the class break. 

Avoid hunger if you can.  Dr. Oz tells us to eat smaller meals more often, so an apple or other fruit in the mid-AM is probably a good thing.  If you’re starving by lunch time, you’re not as productive and don’t think as well.

Avoid gossip.  Seriously, I know this is a shocker coming from me, but it’s true.  And it hard to do.  It’s just sooooo much fun, and there are things you might need to know.  But if you aren’t in it, and don’t need to know it, stay away!  She may be trampy and sleeping around, but you don’t have to tell everyone!

Try to eat away from work at least once a week, preferrably with a non-co-worker.

As to your working buddies, a really great friend of mine always said, “work is work, and friends are friends.”  And when it comes to playing favors and making business decisions, she’s on the money.  However, it’s a good thing to have a ‘best friend at work’.  I do, at both jobs.    Strong friendships make work more fun, and you need that on any job.

If you work alone, at home or telecommute, get out, meet some people, make friends.  Hermits are scary and socializing is good for both introverts and extroverts.  And if your job is SAHM;  playgroups, home school groups, and girlfriend groups are necessities.

Try to meet someone new at your work location each week, or at least each month.  I’m at a High School with 3,500 kids and over three hundred employees.  I’ve been here eight years, I still don’t know them all.  It’s really embarrassing to say, “Nice to have you here today.” and get a reply of, “This is my second/third/fourth year.”  Ouch!

If a co-worker gets too you, spend some time figuring out why, then fix it or forget it.   Some people need to be dealt with, and some just aren’t worth the energy and will eventually take care of themselves.  You know, the “give him enough rope…” thing.  But, don’t let it eat at you and don’t get angry.  Anger and hate only hurt you, the one your angry at usually does not know nor care if or why you’re pissed!

Speak to everyone you pass.  This is a real hot button with me.  Manners are manners, ‘good morning’ is a required greeting, look UP, say hi, and keep movin’ if you don’t wanna talk. (Or don’t have time.)  Never get “Shyjacked”…some of you know what that means!

And once in a while, eat with the people you work with.  It keeps you in the loop and you might get a really great new recipe.

Keep it light!  Decide what is serious, and live with the rest.  You’ll live longer.

Do not talk badly abou the boss.  Even if he’s a total ass.  Don’t do it.

But, most of all…get happy!

*Note to the counseling office…this does not apply to you!!