If you’re like many design specialists, you love your job. A recent Robert Half study, It’s Time We All Work Happy, surveyed different types of professionals and found that those in marketing and the creative industry have the highest levels of on-the-job happiness and interest in their work.
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Is this true across the board, and is there a formula for job satisfaction? No, unfortunately. Each person is unique and finds happiness in different aspects of his or her job. But most of the creative professionals in the study who said they were satisfied career-wise also said doing worthwhile work was the top factor in their happiness. Feeling appreciated and being interested in their work ranked second and third.
How to Love Your Job (Again)
Everyone experiences moments of work-related frustration, whether you’re a freelancer or full-time employee. But what if you’ve lost that loving feeling? Perhaps you’re no longer challenged and have less enthusiasm for the job. Or the situation has gotten so bad that you dread going to the office each morning.
If you find yourself in a rut at work, here are five tips for finding greater on-the-job happiness.
1. Get ‘refitted’ for your job.
When you churn out the same projects — annual reports, brochure updates, back-to-school specials and so forth — year after year, it’s not surprising that boredom sets in. It could be time to talk to your supervisor. Tell her that while you enjoy your job, you’d be interested in tackling new challenges, and then offer up some suggestions. Different assignments, especially those that are interesting and meaningful to you, can help you fall back in love with your work.
2. Pursue professional development.
Learning about new design software or taking a leadership workshop can be a great way to reignite passion for your job. So can attending industry conferences, where you can stay current with the latest design trends and cultivate your creative network. On-the-job training, mentoring, e-learning and webinars are other skill development options you could look into.
3. Cultivate positive work relationships.
Having allies at the office can change your outlook. If you tend to keep your nose close to the computer screen and haven’t reached out to coworkers in a while, now may be a good time to develop stronger workplace connections. Invite a cubicle neighbor out for coffee. Have lunch in the break room instead of at your desk. Even the simple act of making daily small talk can go a long way toward developing rapport with colleagues.
4. Speak up more.
The Robert Half report found that, among all respondents, senior executives have the highest levels of happiness and interest in their work. The reason could be that they have a say in important matters. To exert more influence in your organization, make yourself heard — even if you’re a natural introvert. Contribute during ideation sessions. Offer feedback on design prototypes. Give your opinions thoughtfully and graciously.
Tip: A healthy sense of confidence can boost your career prospects, affect how your boss perceives you and help you love your job again.
5. Check your compensation.
One reason you may not love your job as much as you used to could be that your paycheck hasn’t kept up with your growing workload. A sense of fairness is vital to career happiness, and it’s important to feel valued as a creative worker. The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide can help you check the starting salary ranges for designers in your city so you’ll have numbers to present to your manager when you’re ready to ask for a raise or promotion.
Feeling less than satisfied with the status quo? Do something about it. You have the power to improve your current situation. And if you still don’t love your job after trying to make it work, give yourself permission to explore other options.