Do you ever feel lethargic and lost at work? Do you ever feel vulnerable and powerless, like a tiny cog in a huge machine? Do you wish that you could be truly happy at work?
"Happiness at work is elusive," says psychiatrist Dr. Kerry J. Sulkowicz. Sulkowicz teaches that a better goal is to enjoy your work and strive for high performance. That is more realistic. Why? Happiness is complex. It is difficult to sustain for long periods of time. It often ebbs and flows with the people around you and ultimately, happiness must be generated from within.
In your quest for happiness at work, it is important to understand root causes. When identified, root causes give you clues to why you feel vulnerable and powerless. I learned this when I worked in a corporation where I was expected to be merely a puppet, doing exactly what the manager said and acting precisely when he pulled my strings.
The behavior of my manager was my root cause for unhappiness as he drained essential life force from me but I displaced my anger on my family and work associates. Seeing my relationships suffer, I had to step back and analyze why I was so unhappy. As I consciously looked at my feelings and emotions, I realized that the root cause of my anger was a manager who did not allow me to collaborate, have input, think through and solve problems related to my work.
Once I identified, admitted to myself, and accepted this root cause of my unhappiness, my annoyance and irritation subsided. I was no longer a victim, but had a sense of power coming from my ability to cope with negative feelings. By insulating myself mentally and emotionally from the behaviors of my manager, I returned to a pleasant person. I restored my good relationships with friends and family, regained my mental energy, and climbed on top of my workload.
The ups and downs of work life are inevitable. Work is work! Only in Cinderella fairy tales is work free from pressure, demands, and anxiety. Believing you are entitled to happiness at work every hour of the day makes you neurotic and causes your mental state to go up and down like a yo-yo.
Next time you feel unhappy and lethargic at work, look for the root cause which may not be your manager but an overdue project or an assignment just out of your skill set. Stabilize your identity as a valuable cog in organizational progress, believe in your inner power to manage your mental and emotional energy, and then focus on consistent and excellent results.
It is possible to find happiness at work when you understand the subtle nuances of creating a mental and emotional environment where happiness can thrive within.