The secret to creating happiness at work

Every job in the entire world can be boring if we let it be. Similarly, any job can be an absolute winner, if we choose it to be so. The attitude we bring to work each day has a massive impact on happiness at work.

Employee engagement or staff motivation is one of the biggest challenges in business today. But whose problem is it: the employee or the employer? I tend to think it’s the responsibility of both.

Whether a job is tedious or exciting is entirely in the eyes of the individual. Traditionally, working as a physiotherapist with elderly clients in aged care homes has long been perceived as one of the ugly duckling jobs of the health world. According to many in the physio profession, there are much more exciting jobs than hanging out with old people. Of course, that’s only if you choose that view! Along with thousands of others, I happen to work in the aged care industry, the so-called ugly duckling, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

“When I start feeling bored at work I know that it’s my problem and not anyone else’s.” This was the fascinating response I heard from a workmate at The Physio Co when I asked her how she keeps herself motivated at work.

These words are from an experienced physio with more than 20 years’ clinical experience. Her job that involves treating elderly clients suffering from chronic pain, poor mobility and a huge variety of other conditions is a positive, meaningful and fun part of her life. The fact that she sometimes hears the same stories and laughs at the same jokes with the same people four times a week is all part of the appeal!

She continued, “I love my job and if ever it feels monotonous I just set myself a new challenge.” Despite the perception from others that aged care work and chronic pain management treatments can become mundane, she loves her job working with oldies and is grateful for the opportunity she gets every day. She knows that any moments of distraction or lack of motivation at work is not the fault of the 80, 90 and 100-year-old clients she gets to spend her time listening to, learning from, and caring for. It’s her responsibility.

I love this! I love that she takes responsibility to re-energise and re-motivate when she needs to. I love that she acknowledges boredom as a choice and that she sees it as an opportunity to find a new way to challenge and engage herself at work. She is living proof that personal happiness comes from taking responsibility for your own experience.

Whatever the industry, the job, the environment, or the culture, we all have the option to choose our attitude. That applies to employers and employees, managers and team members. I choose work to be a positive, meaningful and fun part of life. How about you?

Tristan White is a husband to Kimberley and a dad to little Alexandra. He’s a qualified physiotherapist, ironman triathlete, blogger and CEO of The Physio Co – Australia’s eighth Best Place to Work. His passion is to build a strong family and workplace culture and share what he learns with the world. Tristan’s Culture is Everything blog was ranked by SmartCompany as one of Australia’s 25 Best Business Blogs in 2011.

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