O’Malley and Madden Weekly

Topic of the Week  How can you be happier at work?

DO accentuate the positive.
DO reward yourself regularly.
DO examine your negativity.
DON'T be passive.

Dear WW: Work is a grind. This sounds really dumb, but is there something that I can do to make work less painful?



Dear SORE,

I'll admit, I'm a big fan of Peter O'Toole. From Lawrence of Arabia to The Stunt Man, I think he's one of the greatest actors of all time. Recently I saw him in an interview where he was asked his favorite role. His response was perfect, "The next one."

I couldn't come up with a better way to approach your job than feeling like your best work still lies ahead. Yet, according to my email, that feeling is rare in today's workplace where so many of us are beaten down and feeling overwhelmed. I've listed three do's and a don't for being happier at work, below. For more, check out M.J. Ryan's book, "The Happiness Makeover" (Broadway, 2005).

DO--accentuate the positive. I'm a news junkie. But recently I noticed that watching the news before I went to bed each night not only bummed me out at the time, but I would also wake up with a scowl on my face the next morning. These days I'm very conscious of the music, movies, books that I imbibe, especially right before bedtime. I'm not saying that we all have to be all-Disney, all-the-time, but it does make it easier to be upbeat when you are surrounded by upbeat messages.

DO--reward yourself regularly. I'm a big believe in rewards. Not necessarily pints of Ben and Jerry's and sixpacks, although I've done my share of both. But work can be such a grind that you have to be nice to yourself on a regular basis. Look for opportunities to treat yourself with exercise, healthy snacks, time with your hobbies or family and face to face meetings with colleagues that you only currently communicate with via email. We all work hard, it's nice to give yourself a break every once and a while.

DO--examine your negativity. As a person who can be on a first name basis with sarcasm, I've found it's important to look at the times when I feel like my glass is half-empty. But there are often times when we don't even realize we're being sarcastic. It's amazing how you can be in a funk and not even realize it. Sure we may not see our own funk, but the people we work with are usually clued into what we're going through. That's why it's important to surround yourself with people who care for you and will level with you.

DON'T--be passive. It is easy to go through life with a victim mentality. If you assume that people are out to get you, chances are that you won't be let down. Take control of your job and your relationships and your disposition will improve.

Follow these tips and you won't have to wait to make your next role your best, you might even be able to salvage the job that you currently are doing.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.


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