How to Make Your Job More Enjoyable

Man meditating on conference table while coworkers argue
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When young people are considering their future career choices, they are often given advice to follow their passion and look for work that involves passion and meaning. However, in a challenging job market, many people feel the need to take jobs that are less than their ideal but will do for now. This means that many people are in jobs that they like but don't love—or sometimes don't even like.

Do you wish you had a better job? Fun jobs aren’t just for the very lucky; believe it or not, most ‘regular jobs’ can be turned into ‘fun jobs’ with some tweaking. This is good news for many people, who find themselves in a difficult job climate and may not want to risk quitting a safe job in search of a job that's more enjoyable. Interestingly, what makes a job fun depends on the individual—and virtually everyone can take steps to make their current job more enjoyable to them personally, so different people in the same organization can take on different responsibilities that may complement each other.

The desire to make a job more enjoyable isn't a frivolous one. While fun jobs can contain some stress, people generally find these types of jobs—jobs that fit their needs in terms of utilizing their unique strengths and providing the right type of challenge and meaning—come with less clock-watching, less Monday morning dread, less stress. And because job stress is one of the most commonly-experienced stressors, this is clearly something that many people face and would like to be rid of. The following steps can help people take their current jobs more fulfilling and less stressful. Ready? Let’s have some fun!

Find Flow

Think about the times in your life when you experience flow—you lose track of time, you feel inspired, and things feel really easy for you. Is it when you’re doing specific activities such as organizing people, troubleshooting problems or decorating a space? Or in daily life, do you find certain aspects of your day tend to feed you emotionally, like when you’re engaged in conversation with people, cracking jokes, or spending time alone? See if there are ways to work these things into your current job: be the office party planner, for example, if you love to plan events; volunteer to deal with disgruntled customers if conflict resolution is your forte; maintain a sense of humor throughout the day if at all possible. Jobs that lend themselves to flow are generally experienced as fun jobs.

Sometimes creating flow in your workday means adding new responsibilities that include the right level of challenge and meaning rather than swapping activities that are less enjoyable for these more enjoyable activities, which are known as gratifications.

This can be worth the effort, even if it means slightly more work. This type of activity can relieve stress and involve more meaning and enjoyment in your job, it can be well worth the extra effort.

Spread Joy

Think about ways that your current job helps people, or could help people. We have all experienced sales clerks who clearly hate their jobs and don’t want to be there, and sales clerks who take time to talk to us and make our day special. The clerks who go out of their way to spread happiness are providing a real service and are also more likely to think of their jobs as ‘fun jobs’ than the first group.

How does your job allow you to touch people’s lives? You may be able to share positivity to people you encounter, you may find opportunities to help others by sharing your expertise, or you may even inspire others. Jobs that make the world a better place lend a sense of satisfaction and are likely to be experienced as fun jobs.

Create Meaning

Use your creativity and share your special gifts in your current job, and you may find your experience of your job transformed. Look at how your job can contribute to society in a positive way, and find greater meaning in your work. Focusing on the intangible rewards of work can transform most jobs into fun jobs, and can reduce job stress as well. Have fun!

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.