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How to Love Your Job.

Author Mark Twain once said, "The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation." Work should not be seen as some form of punishment we must endure to earn a living, instead it should be something we get enjoyment and feelings of self-worth from doing.

Research on today's workforce indicates that many employees are unhappy with their jobs. Work-related complaints are sometimes not within a person's control; however people do have control over many aspects of their work lives. Every individual can take steps to make their job experience a more enjoyable one. There will always be some areas of your job that you enjoy less than others, but by actively focusing on the positives, you can have a more enjoyable experience. Take charge of the things that you can control and keep the following tips in mind:

Good job fit. When there is a good "fit" between you and your job you are more likely to enjoy what you are doing and be successful. A good fit generally means that the job you are doing and the company's philosophy are compatible with your basic values. It also means that you can successfully work with your co-workers and that you have the skills needed to do the tasks. Working is more likely to be fun when you like what you do and the people you are working with.

Learn to take a compliment. In today's workforce, many employees find it difficult to accept a compliment. Employees need to learn how to accept a compliment for what it is—a show of appreciation. Let yourself feel good when someone let's you know that you and the work you do is valued.

Acknowledge your successes. When you are successful, feel good about yourself—recognize your own strengths and achievements. People who are self-critical tend to undervalue their abilities and sell themselves short. You will feel more satisfied with yourself and your job if you can acknowledge your successes.

Make humour and laughter a part of your workday. Allow yourself some "play" time while you are at work. Research shows that this helps to improve employee quality of life and the company's bottom line. Productive play and humour are key to success—have an understanding of what makes work fun for you. Open yourself up to the comic events that occur daily in your work. Laugh at yourself; laugh with others; do not laugh at others.

Your job is only one part of your life. Most of us spend a great portion of our lives working. The corporate North American work ethic has built a nose-to-the-grindstone type of mentality. This notion makes it difficult for many people to justify taking time off to realize their goals and dreams. It is important to take regular breaks and vacations. People need time to relax in order to be productive. To be happy with yourself and your job, you need to take time for yourself.

Get involved in a variety of activities that you enjoy. A challenge for many people is to find ways to get more involved—to enlarge your job without just adding more work. Try to think qualitatively about your job not just quantitatively. Be on the look out for new projects that may be of interest to you or come up with your own project that may benefit the company. Surrounding yourself with activities you enjoy increases your potential for satisfaction. If you are able to, delegate some of your more tedious responsibilities to an employee who would appreciate them—remember that what is boring for you may be interesting or career enhancing for someone else.

Learn to handle criticism. Constructive criticism allows you to better yourself as a person, become more competent at your job, and develop yourself within the company. Criticism that is not constructive should be "taken with a grain of salt".

Build positive alliances in the workplace. Positive relationships with others in your company can provide you an increased sense of belongingness. It also allows you to have alliances with those who may be able to help you at one time or another.

Say no to negative emotions. Emotions such as hate, anger and jealousy are not productive. These emotions kill spirits and may paralyze you with bitterness. When your emotions are out of control at work, it is important to take some time to "cool off". Try to take a rational problem solving approach in the resolution.

Take responsibility for your own happiness. Know what you can and can't change about your job and within your work environment. Evaluate the sources of your dissatisfaction. Often you can do more than you realize. Since unhappiness (like happiness) is a feeling rather than an objective state of being, you can almost always improve your satisfaction level by just putting yourself into a more positive train of thought. Even if the facts of a situation never change, you should feel better for the effort you put in.

Everyday ideas to make your work fun

There are things you can do each day to consciously build more satisfaction into your working life. By implementing some of the following ideas, you can have more fun while you work:

Try to say hello to everyone you pass in your office or in the hall. Make small talk with others when appropriate.

Do something that is out of your character. If you are an introvert, invite a group of co-workers to join you on a coffee break.

Celebrate an occasion you normally wouldn't acknowledge.

Let go of chronic irritation. Tell yourself that your co-worker's annoying gum chewing habit does not really annoy you.

Compliment everyone you see and be sincere about it.

Surprise a co-worker with a card or small gift.

Post a witty, profound or insightful "Saying of the Month or Week" in your office or in a public place for everyone to see.

Keep a work journal or diary. Record your successes and failures. When you are feeling down, read your entries from a year or six months ago to gain a perspective on your current problems and to realize how quickly you are able to make light of them.

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