7 ways to derive happiness from your professional life.

13 March 2018

How do we define Career happiness? Is it climbing the senior management ladder? Developing those around you? Working in an environment where your work has a massive impact on society? For different people, career happiness can be defined in a variety of ways. As the majority of people work 40+ hours a week, then it makes sense to make your job or career a place where you can be successful,  develop yourself whilst obtaining so called 'career happiness'. The goal is to make these 40 hours the best 40 hours! 


Small changes to behaviour, mindset & routine can make a significant difference in the happiness you derive from day to day. Unfortunately/fortunately for me I didn’t have someone to guide me through the actions I can take to hone my health & happiness whilst in the modern professional environment. I was fortunate to have internships and insight weeks in a number of different sectors, these experiences have allowed me to fail a few times, learn from my mistakes and taught me 5 little steps that will help you along the way to becoming a boss in your professional life whilst at that same time obtaining happiness. 

Focus on your strengths.

Instead of looking at the things you aren't amazingly skilled at, look at the aspects of your job you excel in. It's easy in a competitive environment such as an office to be made aware of the numerous strengths of other individuals and whilst it’s good to support others skills and talents, this can mean we become anxious or doubt ourselves, paying attention to our weaknesses. As cheesy as it sounds (queen of cheese over here) write your top three strengths on a post-it note - stick it on your computer or on a notebook or in a locker and whenever you're feeling like your job is overwhelming look at the things you're good at as a gentle reminder to yourself! Also, having an awareness of your strengths will allow you to choose projects or opportunities that will play to your strengths. Initiating a project or opting to do something that puts you out of your comfort zone will provide you with the opportunity to add more skills to your post-it note.


Strike the balance between planning and being spontaneous.

In my last year of university, I drew myself a five-year plan of life of what I wanted to achieve in the next five years. It had my graduation, the duration of my graduate scheme, my success in professional qualification examinations, when I was going to apply for my first mortgage, how I was to manage all the little side projects I have,  what I was going to eat for dinner – everything was planned To a T.  Sure, having something to aim on paper makes you commit to it. But the truth is, 2 months into my plan I realised that this well written time frame of what I wanted to achieve was going to get me frustrated for a number of reasons. Firstly - I can’t predict the future. The professional environment is extremely volatile and the best achievers have an element of agility and are able to adapt to whatever is thrown in their direction. The time line and content of the plan I wrote two years ago may be completely redundant in 2 years. Secondly - A five-year plan can lead you into a false sense of confidence. You get complacent and start to miss out on the thrill-seeking opportunities life has to offer.  And finally - I've already started to stray away from that 'perfect' plan I wrote whilst sitting in my university halls. Speaking from experience,  what may seem right at a time may not be right 5 or 6 months down the line and then a diversion from the map may be necessary. 

Take care of your health. 

You can’t be productive or seek happiness through your job if you are sick. When you feel your best, you produce your best work. Cold, Flu and stress related illness all require a rest period. This is something I should tell myself more regularly but you are not superwoman and you cannot work for hours on end whilst being ill - talk about a disaster waiting to happen. Your co-workers will also thank you for not spreading your germs around the office. Being healthy means being physically healthy, mentally healthy and socially healthy. Taking actions such as; getting at least eight hours of sound, restful sleep a night, getting regular physical and dental checkups, eating healthy meals (all the Salmon and Kale fans rejoice), exercising regularly, drinking water, having herbal tea instead of coffee (sigh) and using resources like headspace app and other stress reduction techniques all work wonders when boosting your physical, mental and social health.  

Give back to your community. 

For me the big question when finding a graduate job or taking on any type of work is 'what is it going to give back to the community?'.  Many of us hope our work will have an impact whether it's through actively working within the community or raising awareness. There is more to life than your work and doing something that is directly going to benefit someone else makes you realise this. 



Keep working towards your passion project.

On a weekday, the average person is at work for 8 hours a day, sleeps for another 8 hours, let's say we give ourselves 3 hours for all the miscellaneous stuff like travelling, going for after work drinks, cooking - that still leaves us with 5 hours to do whatever we please.  Whether it's for five hours or five minutes a day, incorporate whatever you are passionate about into your routine. So, you want to start a podcast? A clothing line? A charity? Write your own book? Start Your Own Part-Time Business?  There's no better time to do so even alongside work & social commitments - whenever you have free time, get the balls rolling. Having something to focus on outside your professional life can also give you the skills needed to help your professional progression and a few years you’ll be thanking yourself that you took the time out to work on your passion project. 

Utilise your lunch break.

A lot of people think lunch is for one thing and one thing only (although food is extremely important). That 15 minutes to 1 hour break you take for lunch can give you the opportunity to partake in a host of opportunities from talking with people in a more informal setting, networking and meeting new people, attending events that are taking place in your area, going to a spin class, brainstorming your ideas in a coffee shop.

Make your own mistakes.

As cliche as it sounds, it’s all about individuals making their own mistakes and realising how to best thrive in an environment. There are no strict guidelines of how to seek happiness, productivity and success whilst in the workplace.  Not all the tips I've mentioned are going to work for everyone and if you have some tips that I've missed off please let me know in the comments. 

Outfit details

Jumpsuit - H&M 
Coat - New Look (Similar)
Heels - Office
Bag - Hawes & Curtis (Bag is now discontinued)  
Watch - Accurist

Have a fabulous week! 

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