Happiness from 9 to 5: How-To

First and foremost: I am no expert. A 20-something year-old like myself has a lot to learn about the workforce, and that, I will not deny. Nevertheless, there are certain rules to living happily, and many of us are guilty of ignoring these from the hours of 9AM to 5PM. We go about our lives work, work, working, often forgetting to stop and reflect on the thing we spend the majority of our time doing. I’m willing to bet each of us is in need of living by at least one of the following commandments…

1. Ask Yourself: What would Steve Jobs do?
If there’s nothing that excites you about the work you do, nothing that challenges you, makes you smile, or inspires you – you’ve got a serious problem. No amount of money or enticing perk will make you love your job, and as Steve Jobs once said, your work is a large portion of your life, so you better love it. It’s truly never too late to explore other options, and if you can’t seem to define your career path, look to your hobbies as a starting point.

2. Expand Your Horizons
Most of us dream of big corner offices, wine-induced lunch breaks, client trips to New York and countless freebies when we imagine ideal jobs…and that’s perfectly healthy to do. But when you’re sitting in your cubicle, with that PC that just won’t stop asking you to reboot, your dreams can easily begin to dwindle. Mindless reports and minutes ticking by can be unpleasant at best, so why not kick it up a notch? Be curious, ask questions, break the rules of 9 to 5 and do some research that may come in handy. You never know who may notice your newfound curiosity, or where it may take you.

3. Be Honest
There’s nothing worse than promising something to your boss that you A) Don’t have the slightest clue how to handle and/or B) Will not have time to do. Explaining to your superior that you cannot foresee meeting a deadline is much better received right away than 10 minutes before when your calendar has advised you of said deadline. Don’t be afraid! Most of the time, your honesty is appreciated, and I’d venture a guess that your happiness level will increase, while your anxiety level lessens.

4. Live to Learn
You’ll never stop learning, and one of the biggest mistakes someone can make is thinking they know it all. In fact, our generation is generally “known” to be like this – although I tend to think that we are just thriving on knowledge rather than walking around with our heads held high. The truth is, no matter how clueless a superior is about the digital world, they’ve been around the block a few more times, and they surely have some lessons to lend you – never forget it!
5. Do Not Dwell
There will always be bad days, mistakes, blunders, and moments you wish you could erase from your professional life – but dwelling on the negative will get you nowhere. The best solution to a problem is to concentrate on the next great thing you’ll accomplish. Work harder, be diligent, and whatever you do, don’t let imperfections get you down. We are not robots!!


6. Live a Little
Many of us find ourselves working 12 hour days and obsessively checking emails on Saturday afternoons. A key to being happy at work also involves being happy at home. It’s essential to take the time to refresh and think simply. Escape in the pages of a good book, chat with your friends, cook a new recipe, and take your mind off of this quarter’s numbers and that awful client call. In a nutshell, get a life.


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