How to be Truly Happy at Work | Life Advice from a Career Coach

You spend most of your life working, don’t you think it’s a good idea to try and be happy at work?

We know, enjoying work seems impossible for a lot of you, but today marks the beginning of a very special series of videos for us at Career Protocol which gives you actual, concrete guidance on how to improve your time at work. It’s not a TED talk, it’s not vague motivational soundbites: Angela Guido has been coaching people to be happy at work for years and is here with advice you can apply, just like that, on Monday.

Make sure to stick around for the next few weeks as we fill out the rest of our happy at work equation.

YouTube video

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

If you've ever woken up on a Monday morning or found yourself dreading Monday on Sunday, chances are you were not super happy at work. And if you're, like most people, you couldn't really pinpoint, you couldn't put your finger on exactly why. It's easy to say, oh, I want to retire early, I don't want to have a job anymore, I gotta quit this whole work deal, because it's a nebulous cloud of no fun. But when you look closely at the Happy At Work equation, which I'm going to be dissecting over the next four weeks, it will become very clear to you exactly what's missing in your work life, exactly why you're not happy at work, and exactly what you can do to move the needle to be happier at work right now, today, this Monday. Welcome back to Make Mondays Better. I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol, a Career Coach, an MBA Coach, a former Management Consultant, Recruiter at the Boston Consulting Group, and HR Manager at KPMG, and I am here to help you make the most of your career to find the joy and satisfaction that you deserve for the eight plus hours a day that you are investing in your job and in yourself.

Today is the first in the series of four videos that I'm going to do to show you, teach you, and educate you on how to be happy at work. If you're having trouble following along, scroll down to the comments section and download our Happy At Work Assessment sheet. It's a free template to help you catalog all the components of being happy at work. Most people don't know that the founding mantra of Career Protocol is that work is supposed to be fun. Life is too short to spend time toiling over things that you don't enjoy, find personally meaningful, and have fun doing. So, my always intention for all of my clients and in all of my videos is to help you be happier at work. Today, I'm going to demystify what that even means. All right! So, the first thing I'm going to do is show you the proprietary top secret Happy At Work equation that we use to coach all of our clients. Ready? Might want to get out a pen and paper and write this down. Here we go. There are four parts to being happy at work.


1. Tasks You Enjoy

The first is tasks you enjoy. If you just think about it, tasks are what fill your time. It's what you're doing on a day-to-day basis. If you're doing a lot of things that you don't enjoy, then chances are you're not going to be that happy. On the flip side, if you're filling your day with at least some tasks you enjoy, and ideally more and more with each passing day, then you're going to be having a lot more fun at work. You're going to be doing tasks that you like, stuff you like to do, and this is again, it’s just sending emails, or going to meetings, or building PowerPoints, or designing things, or coding things, or problem solving, or communicating. It's all the tasks that fill your day. It's really important to be happy at work that you do at least some tasks you enjoy, and ideally, much more than half of the tasks you're doing will be tasks that you enjoy.


2. People You Love

The second component that is required to be happy at work is people. And importantly, people that you love. I don't mean romantic love, obviously. I mean affinity, affection, fun, joy. The people that you respect. The people that you find inspiring. The people that give you energy rather than sap it. The people that you work with. The relationships that you build in your job and across your career are one of the greatest sources of joy and satisfaction in and of themselves. But being surrounded by people that you like and respect and who like and respect you is perhaps the most immediately obvious and important component of being happy at work. I know you know what I'm talking about. Maybe you were working in a job that was really fun and interesting. You were solving cool problems, you liked your tasks, but you had that one boss that was a micromanager that just like hawked over your shoulder and made you feel bad about yourself every day. That's a really hard job to do. It's going to be really hard to be happy at work if one or more or in general all of the people around you are not your people. So, people you love, people you like is the second component of being happy at work.

And if you think about these two pieces, tasks and people, these are the components of your work life that affect your work on a day-to-day basis. So you're interacting with these people every day. You're doing these tasks every day. This is the day-to-day side of the happy at work equation. But remember we talked about the difference between having a job and a career. A job is something that you're just doing now. You're just doing it in exchange for your salary or your wages. And therefore, a job is mostly about the day-to-day. But if you have a career, you also need to be thinking about the long term because a career is something that you do for yourself. It's an investment in you and your impact in this world. So, to be happy at work fully, you also need two things that unfold over a longer time horizon.


3. Meaningful Impact

Over time, you need to have meaningful impact. This means that you have a sense, concrete or vague, but at least you have some awareness that the tasks you're doing day to day, the work that you're doing, is having a meaningful impact somewhere in the world, potentially right in front of you. In some jobs, you can see your impact. Think about a preschool teacher. preschool teacher can see the impact they're having day-to-day on their pupils as their students grow and change and evolve. That's one example of meaningful impact. But if you work in a white-collar job, like maybe you’re building spreadsheets and PowerPoints and giving presentations, or you're a coder and you're building tech products one line of code at a time, you're not necessarily going to see the impact of your work right in front of you. Ideally, you will know how the work that you're doing is contributing to a meaningful change and outcome in the world and ideally, a change or outcome that positively impacts other people. This is one of the trickiest things to get your head around in the early part of your career because very likely you're a member of a bigger team, you're responding to the requests of your manager or your line manager, the people who are telling you what's important and telling you what to do, and they may or may not be very skilled at helping you understand how the work you do fits into the bigger picture. But understand it you must. Because if you want to be happy at work, you need to know the impact that you're having.


4. Substantial Growth

Finally, the last component of the Happy At Work equation is substantial growth. Remember we said that having a career is about you. It's about your impact and your growth. And if you're like most people, the feeling of growing as a person is one of the happiest feelings you can think of. When you wake up one morning and you realize that you've grown, that you've improved, that you're better in some way than you were last week. It creates a feeling of self-esteem and confidence and joy in being alive. So it's also really important that you be growing in your job and in your career if you want to be fully happy at work. And importantly, meaningful impact and substantial growth both happen over time. It's hard to get super good at anything this hot second. You need time usually to try and fail, to grow and practice. Similarly, impact. It could be immediate. But usually, the changes that are most worthwhile are going to unfold over a period of weeks, months, even years, and that's why these are the two components of the Happy At Work equation that are required over time.

So that's the full Happy At Work equation. If you have all four of these things, you're going to be happy at work. If you're missing even one of them in a meaningful way, chances are you're going to be dreading Mondays. I'm going to be working more with this equation in the next three videos to help you really dig deep into what it means to be happy at work and what you personally need to experience maximum joy in your career. But today I’m going to give you one to do for next week so that you can make Monday better, and we’re going to work with tasks.


To-Do 01: Write A List Of Tasks You Enjoy Doing

Let’s start with the first component of the equation: tasks you enjoy. Take a moment and write a list of tasks that you do today in your work that you enjoy doing. Just pause the video and make a quick list. There should be at least three things on that list, but there could be as many as ten or twenty. Take a moment and write down everything that you enjoy doing. I'm really eager to hear, what are the tasks that you enjoy doing so be sure to scroll down and leave me a comment and tell me the tasks that you most enjoy doing at work.


To-Do 02: Talk To Those At Work Who Can Help You Do More Of The Tasks You Enjoy

Now, your next step is to have a conversation next week with your boss or manager or teammate, someone who can help you do more of the tasks you enjoy. It doesn't have to be a big conversation, just in passing with a manager, a boss, even a teammate. You say, “Hey! I've been doing an inventory of my job, and I just noticed that this task and this task are my absolute favorites. Is there any way that I can do more of those things this week? You got any projects that you need help that will give me the chance to do these tasks?”. Or maybe you'd say, “I have this task assigned, is it all right if Joe does this and I do more of this other task that I really enjoy?”. Take a small step in helping the people around you help you do more of what you enjoy at work. I promise if you do that, next Monday is going to be much better than this Monday. Coming up in the next three weeks, more tips to be happier at work this coming Monday. Be sure to hit one of the subscribe buttons somewhere surrounding my head and turn the notification bell on so that you don't miss a single MBA. Monday better video. I will see you next Monday!

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Angela Guido

Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder of Career Protocol

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