What makes the difference between a job you love and one you hate? Research has shown that while low salary and poor working conditions can lower your job satisfaction, the things that make you feel good about work are not the material things but the human factors. Recognition, responsibility and believing that you are doing something worthwhile all give a sense of purpose and a feeling of choice about going to work.
This means that workplace culture plays an important role in job satisfaction. If we experience people at work (especially our immediate boss) as distant, dismissive or on a different wavelength, we can become demoralised and unhappy. We might then reduce our efforts, become more self-focussed, and start complaining to our colleagues. Unfortunately, these responses become part of the workplace culture, which becomes accordingly even less supportive.
While there might be things that you think your boss or organisation should be doing better, it is also possible to improve your own workday experience by putting in more effort, rather than less. Generate your own sense of purpose by adding extra touches to your work. Go the extra mile for a client, smile at the delivery man, bring morning tea for a colleague, compliment the boss. Cheer yourself up by revamping your workspace, making a special lunch, wearing something different, listening to music on your headphones. Imagine that your secret mission is to uplift the mood in the whole workplace. I guarantee that you’ll come up with ideas that only you could have thought of – which will make you feel truly fantastic!
And if there are systemic issues that need to be addressed, you’ll be more likely to do so constructively when you’re in a happier state.