There are two kinds of people: those who love their jobs, and then there’s everyone else. According to a survey from Wrike, a global collaborative work-management platform, millennials are the least happy generation, with 17 percent reporting they are “mostly unhappy” or “miserable” at work. Feel like you identify with that pack? There are, in fact, ways to be happy at work, no matter what industry you’re in or what level you’re at.
Check out these five simple life changes that can boost your happiness at work.
Set small goals
A sense of accomplishment is the strongest driver of happiness for employees under 35 years old, a survey from staffing firm Robert Half found. So, one way to boost job satisfaction is by setting small goals for yourself, says Stefanie Wichansky, CEO at management consulting and staffing firm Professional Resource Partners in Randolph, New Jersey. Achieving these goals on a regular basis will help you stay motivated. For example, if you’re working on a yearlong project, reflect on your progress every one to two weeks; by seeing that you’ve moved the dial, you’ll feel more confident in your work, says Wichansky, and happier with your output.
Socialize with coworkers
One of the most obvious ways to be happy at work is to nurture the social aspect of it. Though a 2017 Gallup poll found that close work friendships boost employee job satisfaction by 50 percent, the survey also found that only two in 10 workers have a best friend at work. To form meaningful relationships with your coworkers, get to know them outside of work, says Christine Carter, author of The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work.
Meet with peers for lunch or happy hour, recommends Nic Marks, CEO and founder at Happiness Works, a firm that helps companies create happier workplaces. “Simply taking an interest in their lives will help you form a connection,” Marks says.
If you find you really enjoy each other’s company and have common interests, leverage that. For example, if you both love art, you might ask the person to join you at a museum. (“I hear there’s a fabulous exhibit at the Met. Want to check it out?”)
Join a committee
Feeling more engaged at work can help lift your spirits, says executive career coach Cheryl E. Palmer. To get more involved, consider joining a committee at your company, such as the group that plans the annual volunteer day or holiday toy drive.
“Joining such a committee can expose you to other people in a large organization that you might not otherwise meet and can open the door for future job opportunities,” says Palmer. Getting involved with one of these groups can also increase your visibility at the organization, which may lead to opportunities for a promotion.
Find a mentor
If you don’t have one yet, find a mentor at your company—someone who can not only guide you but also help you stay motivated. Ideally, you want to locate a mentor who has been at the company for a while, since this person will understand how the organization operates and can provide valuable insight.
Of course, not everyone is mentor material. Many career coaches liken the process of finding a mentor to dating; after all, you’re looking for someone who understands you. Cast a wide net during your search. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential Sherpas, ask each person for a private meeting and have a list of questions prepared that to assess your compatibility (e.g., “How often would we meet?” “What do you expect from me as a mentee?”).
Adjust your mindset
Instead of looking at your job as, well, a job, see it as an investment in your career, advises Kenneth Johnson, president of East Coast Executives. “The time spent at work should be viewed as a deposit toward the advancement of personal career goals,” says Johnson. Plus, by approaching your work as something that will help your personal development, you’ll be more likely to seek new job responsibilities and professional training opportunities, which can make you more marketable to future employers.