New York Times columnist and author Kerry Hannon knows a thing or two about finding happiness on the job. In fact, she wrote a book about it: Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness. Here, she shares her thoughts on how to take charge of your career for a more enjoyable and fulfilling work life.
What can employees do to enjoy the time they spend at work?
The workplace is evolving in many ways that certainly allows for happiness, but increasingly it’s up to you to make your own happiness. One thing that makes us love our job is a pride in what we are doing. This is an essential ingredient to becoming a loyal and happy employee.
Secondly, flexible hours and the opportunity to telecommute can go a long way for many people. Find out if these options are available within your organization. Also, does your employer offer free continuing education and professional development programs? Taking advantage of these benefits can help build happiness.
Finally, if your employer offers financial planning and retirement seminars for employees take advantage of them. This is a tremendous perk that helps you get financially fit and attain financial security. It also builds a more positive workplace and eases financial stress.
What’s your advice for women considering making an “ask” at work, such as requesting a raise or the ability to work from home?
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First, let’s consider some questions to ask yourself before the big meeting:
- Are you sold on what you’re asking for? Is the change you’re seeking going to make your job better in some way or your life richer? You can sell it to your boss only if you yourself are persuaded.
- What exactly are you asking for? Do you have a well-defined proposal? You need to be able to cut to the chase quickly, and explain what it is you’re asking for.
- What are your boss’s challenges right now? Does he or she work for a difficult boss? Is your department in the midst of cutbacks? Take the time to do your research to get a feel for what your manager faces before you go for the ask.
Now, some tips:
1. Build your pitch. First, think of it from your boss’s perspective. If you move to another department, for example, will your boss have to find someone to replace you? Think strategically and build your case by explaining clearly how your boss and your department can benefit, and do everything you can to make the transition easy for them.
2. Tweak your elevator speech. Consider your goals and the reasons you are best suited for this ask. Plus, you should be able to show how the new duties will ramp up your skills and make you a more valuable employee.
3. Be patient. Give your boss time to consider your request and to get back to you. Your boss may have to get permission or just get comfortable with the requested changes.
In your book, you mention that the ability to have some autonomy and control over work schedules makes people happier. How can women ask specifically for job flexibility?
When it comes to what makes people love their jobs, this is a biggie. My research and interviews with hundreds of workers have clearly shown that more flexibility in scheduling day-to-day activities leads to greater happiness on the job. When making the ask for flexibility, “improved efficiency” should be at the top of your list. The reason? Increased productivity is one of the leading reasons why employers permit employees to work from home.
Walk into the conversation with your boss with a proposal that describes what your work schedule would be, the number of hours you would work, how unplanned overtime would be handled, how often you would check in with an office visit and how often you would talk with your boss. For example, you might offer to work in the office when projects are being launched or problems arise that the company needs to solve. To seal the deal, ask for a trial period of three to six months so both you and your boss can see how the arrangement works out and fine-tune it if needed. *
By Project Eve October 6, 2016
Project Eve is an online community where more than 2.5 million women go to reinvent their careers. With engaging articles and interactive tools, Project Eve motivates women to think beyond traditional boundaries, support one another, embrace change and view challenges as opportunities.