I was joking around with a co-worker recently, pointing out that she has spent about 65,000 hours at work. Granted, she has been working for 35 years, but, when you actually see a number like that you realize–that is a lot of time.
Even the significantly smaller number of 8 hours (your average work day) takes up a third of your day and about half of your awake time.
So, what if you are unhappy at work? According to my numbers, about half your life will be wasted.
There have been times in my career when I was unhappy at work and counting down the 47,000 or so hours I had left until retirement. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the job, or the people, or the idea of contributing to society. It was that work got in the way of ‘real’ life. It got in the way of family and friends. It was time consuming.
So I made a change. I dismantled the wall between work and ‘real’ life. I realized I was wasting so much time and negative energy on something that, maybe, wasn’t so bad. I had to be there, so why not embrace it?
I did. The change was more than I expected. According to the numbers I expected to be 50% happier, but, in reality I became 200% happier. I’m not sure exactly why my happiness multiplied exponentially, but, now I wish I’d figured this out ten years ago.
What exactly did I do? The main thing was to change my perspective. I will admit, this is easier said than done. I guess for me I just accepted that work was part of ‘real’ life and I should treat it that way. I started taking things a bit more seriously. Not only doing what needed to be done, but, living up to the same high standard I set for myself at home.
I also broke down the mental barrier I had built up with the people around me. I used to be of the mindset that you leave work at work, and that included the people. But, when I started opening up and getting to know my coworkers outside of work (Facebook is a wonderful place to do that), that is when things got fun. Now I’m not spending a third of my day, and the majority of my adult interactions, with people I barely know, but, I’m getting to spend the day with friends.
My #HappyAct challenge is for you to reevaluate work. Find a way to get connected with your job and the people around you. Good luck.
Contributing author: Mathew is a very productive and sarcastic cubicle citizen who reads way too many Dilbert comics. He blogs about his life outside of work at theplaceunderthepine.blogspot.ca.
Ed. Note: Great post Matt and so true! Consider these stats from Officevibe.com:
- Seventy percent of employees believe having friends at work is the most crucial element of a happy work life.
- One-third of adults have met at least one of their closest friends through work.
- Seventy-four percent of women and 58 percent of men say they would turn down a higher-paying job if it meant they wouldn’t get along with their co-workers.