New Year's Resolution: Be happier at work
“Lose weight,” “exercise more,” and “spend less” always feature prominently in lists of popular New Year’s resolutions, but we’d like to suggest you add “be happier at work” to the top of yours this year. Not only does enjoying your hospitality job make the hours you spend at the restaurant, hotel or resort more tolerable, but it also makes you a better worker because it increases your engagement. That’s something in short supply, as surveys show that nearly 69 percent of workers across industries are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their positions.
While a generous raise or frequent words of thanks could certainly add to your work-related joy, there are plenty of things you can do to increase your daily pleasure on the job that don’t require action on the part of your employer. Consider the following and take happiness into your own hands.
1. Remember that happiness is ultimately up to you.
If you’re not enjoying your hospitality job, you have several options: change positions, change employers or change careers. The decision—and action that must be taken—is wholly yours. Own it and remind yourself of this whenever you feel discouraged or stuck.
2. Let go of what you cannot control.
If you have ideas that may improve some aspect of the hotel or restaurant you work in, by all means share them with your supervisor. But don’t take it personally if those ideas are not implemented (right away or even ever). The decisions of your employer are largely outside of your control—and you shouldn’t allow them to tarnish your happiness.
3. Tune out the unnecessary negatives.
Is the housekeeping department full of waring cliques? Does one of the other servers always have something disparaging to say about the way you handle the customers? If so, don’t let it get under your skin. While constructive criticism should be acknowledged (especially if it comes from a supervisor), and you must give customer dissatisfaction your utmost attention, your happiness will benefit from tuning out much of the negative that comes your way.
4. Do nice things for yourself.
If the reception desk phone has been ringing off the hook all day and it’s starting to get to you, make time to do something you enjoy on your lunch break. If you’ve had a week full of particularly tough clients, treat yourself to a movie (or a hike or massage) when your day off finally arrives. Doing so will increase your happiness and may even make you more generous. According to one study, when good things happen (even if by your own hand) you’re more likely to help others.
5. Respect your moral and ethical boundaries.
If an employer or co-worker asks you to do something that goes against your moral or ethical beliefs, it’s going to have some effect on your happiness. However, acting on those types of requests—even though your gut tells you not to—is going to make you even more miserable. Sometimes you have to stand your ground, even if that leads to conflict.
6. Smile as often as possible.
Whether you work as a server in a restaurant or behind the scenes at a hotel, your happiness will only benefit when you increase the number of smiles in your day. Studies have actually found that changing your facial expression can change your mood, so the next time you feel yourself becoming discouraged, annoyed or angry, smile instead of frown.
7. Practice being grateful.
When things aren’t going your way at work, it’s easy to feel disgruntled and discouraged. If you’re feeling that way all the time, you may be ready for a new opportunity. But let’s say you aren’t currently able to move on; this doesn’t mean your happiness has to suffer. Every time you begin to feel negative, take a step back and mentally list what you’re grateful for at work, be that a fun co-worker, great customers or just a steady paycheck.