What to Do When Your Job Has Sucked the Life Out of You?

Going to work needn't feel like a scene from "Night of the Living Dead."
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Every day, you leave the office feeling like a dried-up husk of a human being. What's more, the mornings aren't any better, as you now view your alarm clock with utter hatred, and after slamming it to the floor, shuffle out the door zombie-style to your soul-sucking job. "Surely there is more to life than this," you think. That is absolutely correct. No matter how awful the job, there are ways to infuse your days with happiness.

Focus on the Positive

    No matter how stale and spiritless your job is, there is likely something you like about it, even it's something superficial like the abundant windows or the color of the carpet. Jessica Pryce-Jones, author of "Happiness at Work," advises focusing on the positives. Enjoying friendly relationships with coworkers, for example, can help make even the most dreary tasks tolerable. She also recommends remembering why you're there. A photo of your family, for example, can remind you that your work positively impacts others.


    No, don't disengage from work altogether, which might result in the loss of something you love -- your paycheck. Instead, choose to focus your energy on getting the job done, distancing yourself from office politics and energy-sucking relationships that do nothing to help you advance your career or even get through the day, for that matter. Refuse to take petty disagreements personally. If your boss wants you to use Times New Roman in your reports when you prefer Arial, just do it. As stress reduction expert Richard Carlson would say, "Don't sweat the small stuff."


    Think of yourself as a bottle of thirst-quenching mountain spring water. When you leave work, you're empty. If you don't take the time to refill yourself, you won't have any for the next day. Tap water -- merely watching television or surfing the Internet after work -- won't restore you to your refreshed state of mind. Instead, do an activity that ignites your soul. Spend the evening roasting marshmallows in the backyard with a couple of friends, or go for a bike ride on a nearby trail. Do one of the projects you've seen pinned online, instead of living vicariously. You'll return to work refreshed, and your zest for life may infuse others with the same.


    Sometimes, no matter what you do, a job is simply exhausting and unsatisfying. When this is the case, be intentional about separating your work life from your personal life. After all, it'll only burn you out more if you spend the entire evening with your significant other rehashing the three-hour, utterly pointless meeting you hated rather than spending some time together making fun of the cat. Once you leave work, leave it mentally as well as physically.

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