The 10 Commandments of a Happy Work Life

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As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the spread of negativity in the office, I thought I would offer a possible solution.

One of my co-workers posted this article (available here) in his cubicle and it has slowly spread around the office. In my vicinity alone, I can count three other co-workers hanging it in their cublicle—including me.

I find all of the tips important and easy to remember, but a few are particular stand outs: I am just as capable as my co-worker. No one gets up in the morning wanting to have a bad day. Fixing a process is a million times easier than fixing a person. Honor the other 15 hours a person spends away from the office. Manage your own happiness.

The power to be happy at work is within your control. It is entirely up to you whether or not you leave as happy as you did when you arrived.

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It’s Contagious!

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You might think nothing spreads through an office faster than a cold or a stomach virus, but you would be wrong. There is something faster: negative energy.

Have you ever noticed how when one person is in a bad mood, everyone else around them catches it? Pretty soon it’s permeated the office like the smell of someone trying to reheat last night’s fish dinner in the microwave.

As humans, we empathetically emote and subconsciously copy our comrades. So when one co-worker is having a bad day or griping about the lack of pens in the office, or even worse other co-workers, it spreads. Quickly.

I’m not very good at combating this myself. I try to remain upbeat and look on the bright side of things. I’m often the one to say tomorrow is another day. But how many times can one person try to carry an entire section, department or office before they give in to the negativity?

Negative energy is no fun to be around. It sucks the life out of everything around it.

How do you combat negative energy in your office?

What I Learned While the Boss Was Away

I learned that things will continue on as usual. People will still need your help. They’ll still ask for more than you can give.

An obvious lesson I learned is that one person cannot do the work of two, no matter how hard you try. I was lucky that my co-workers were kind enough to understand that as well. I learned that a little extra patience and a friendly conversation goes a long way.
The ability to manage your own time and keep on top of the things in your queue is a skill that I’m getting better at every time it is my responsibility. I’m proud of what I accomplished last week.

I got a little more insight into the other side of the office and how things work “over there.” I learned that proper criticism goes so much farther than tearing some one down. Everyone has a bad day, but I learned it is how you handle the next day that matters. No one wants to have a terrible day.

I know I learned more last week than this post implies about myself, my company and my co-workers. However, putting all those things into words isn’t the point. It’s the changes, no matter how subtle, that make a difference.