Want to be happier with your job? Work harder

By Davison Cheney

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, April 18 2012 12:46 p.m. MDT

The odds are good that if you are reading this while at work, you are probably not happy with your current employment, and you may not be giving your employer your best performance.

The two — being happy and giving your best — are explicably linked. How we feel about our employment and our perceived value there affects how we feel about ourselves, what we do and how we do it.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 50 percent of those who do not feel valued are significantly more likely to seek employment outside of their company during the next year.

On the other hand, those who report feeling valued by their employer are significantly more likely to report that they are motivated to do their very best for their employer. Not only that, but they are healthier and happier, too.

The APA surveyed 1,714 adults and discovered that those who report feeling physically and mentally healthly, have a higher level of satisfaction, and are highly motivated are those who feel valued by their employers.

The survey reports that 93 percent of employees who reported feeling valued by management claimed to be motivated to do their best at work, compared to just 33 percent of those who said they do not feel valued.

Feeling valued, performing at peak and receiving recognition is a cycle of behavior. So is feeling undervalued, not performing up to expectations and subsequently not receiving recognition. Those who understand the cycle are more likely to respond well to the task and are those who can interrupt it. Those who interrupt it often follow this advice:

  1. Like your job. Employees who achieve great results care about what they do. They are always zealous and take an interest in all facets of their work, whether they are in the classroom, on an outreach program, in a fair booth or doing management tasks.
  2. If you are not happy with your work, find a way to make it interesting. Try increasing your job responsibilities or changing your outlook. Do not be scared to take on more responsibility. If you have the opposite problem and have too much on your plate, find out if you can delegate some of your responsibilities.
  3. Watch where you put blame. Where do you put the fault when you have a tough time with a supervisor? Blaming the other person will only cripple your attempt to change. We all have tough times at work. Some choose to complain, others choose to be productive and positive. Which kind are you?
  4. Ask for help from a boss or an HR representative, or ask a co-worker how he or she does a certain task so efficiently. Consider it a way of acquiring strength rather than exposing a weakness. Showing interest in your job is a positive step.
  5. Be a positive thinker. When you commit a mistake, tell yourself, “It's OK, I messed up, but I’ll do better next time.” Team players don’t waste time getting unduly upset about mistakes made. Instead, they gear up for the next opportunity.
  6. Be a team player. Top achievers share their knowledge, experience and time with others. They do not keep important information for themselves only. They do not act like only they can complete a task or are capable of completing an assignment correctly. A sign of a team player is that others on the team have the information to cover when one team member is out. Real team players are generous about their time and effort when it comes to contributing to the success of the team.
  7. Be cheerfully flexible. Plan on the fact that the unplanned will happen. Often we show our true mettle when a crises occurs and we have to deal with something unscheduled. Roll with the punches.
  8. When work is through, go home and do something. Walk around the block, or read a book. Work on a hobby or plant a flower. Make your home life as active as your work life. It will help you remember that work is only part of your life, and life is worth living. The more you do, the more you want to do. Your enthusiasm will motivate you and you will naturally achieve more — both at work and at home.

Cheney writes, often humorously, at davisoncheneymegadad.blogspot.com

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