Saturday, September 9, 2017

How to be happy at work

For women, we might spend anywhere between thirty to forty years in the work place, and ideally you want to make every minute count. It's vital that you either enjoy coming to work, or at the very least that you enjoy working with your work colleagues. But then there are times where it's not enjoyable and stress can start to really affect your health. It's therefore important to set some mental boundaries and understand how you define your role at work. Author of Eat Pray Love Elizabeth Gilbert is a firm believer of the difference between a hobby, a job, a vocation and career. Although interconnected Gilbert advocates that they cannot be used interchangably.

A hobby is something that you do for pleasure, relaxation, distraction, or mild curiosity. A hobby is something that you do in your spare time.Under this definition this very blog, which I have poured hundreds of hours into creating content, editing and obsessing over is a hobby. That does not cheapen it's value, or make it feel any less meaningful to me. It doesn't necessarily mean that it can't also become a means of earning a passive income. However, I write this blog for the sheer joy of it and as a way of connecting with others through clothing, personal style and in this case, more universal themes that will all shape our lives.

Everyone should have a job, even if you have a partner who is willing to financially support you there is great pride in still having a job. By having a job you can contribute typo society. You also need to have a job in order to pay the bills. Now I line kind of tick that box, I have casual employment but also help out on my boyfriend's sheep and cattle property. Last week I helped load over two hundred wool bales ( each weighing roughly 200kg) onto the back of a truck! Another reason why I don't quite tick the box is that I plan to return to university for postgraduate research. For one reason or another we haven't submitted the paper work yet, but that doesn't mean I'm not committed to my research! For me, and for my mental health I find it's really important that I choose work that interests me and have days that vary. Having no two days exactly the same keeps my interest and gets me out of bed each morning.

So we've established what a job is, but a career is built upon your legacy within a job. Unlike a job, a career
is something that you build over the years with energy, passion, and commitment. While there is the mutual understanding between yourself and your employer that you do this for money, it is also a passion project and something that you wouldn't do unless you absolutely loved it. Now being relatively new in the workforce I haven't built a career yet, however, I think my current employer would be brilliant in terms of a basis for my career. Working as a casual allows me to work more selective hours whilst still maintaining a strong relationship with my managers and supervisors. While it might seem like a bit of a luxury, gaining more criticism as a millennial I've found the decision to be important in managing my mental health. My employer know they can depend on me when times are tough and keep me in mind when there's an opportunity.

If your career is something built over a long period of time, then what exactly is a vocation? Well when we turn to Webster's The word "vocation" comes to us from the Latin verb "vocare" — meaning "to call". Your vocation is your calling, and there is a higher purpose. Now, I'm not a spiritual person although there are times where I can catastrophise and then as a result become superstitious. Under normal circumstances I am pragmatic and as such haven't found my vocation yet. There is the hope that one day when my research has been published it might inspire others to follow the same path but there are no guarantees. It's much more important to focus on the body of work and deal with the repercussions once it's out in the public domain. 

Let's assume that your either stuck in a job you don't like or after a period of time, whether it by one year or five that your career isn't going anywhere. Now what? Ask yourself why you find your job so unpleasant, it could be that you feel overwhelmed, the employer you work for is mistreating you and not giving you penalty rates, enough breaks or you simply resent being there. There are ways to combat all of the above, and as soon as things start to become to much I urge you to talk to with HR. Building a strong relationship early on is paramount, especially if a situation escalates. You can then feel more comfortable and confident within yourself in bringing up an unrelated issue or the same issue. 

Depending on where you live, there should also be a government body which protects worker's rights and if you are at all unhappy with the response from HR, contact them. You can do so anonymously, but depending on the situation they may ask you for certain details, especially if you decide to file a report against a colleague or your employer. What I've had to ask myself is if taking further action will ultimately hurt my chances of building a career and what matters more. I am deeply in love with and protective over the company I work for. Although I've had a really rough six months, it's been more important to me to serve the company and do the best I can, getting through each day.

Ultimately your own happiness is something which you can control. It may not always seem like that, and I completely understand that when you are the primary carer for your children or an elderly relative things might be less flexible. There is always the option of changing jobs or careers, and it is never too late to make a fresh start. Asking yourself what's more important, safety and security or your own health and well-being is one of the biggest challenges you'll face. But at the end of the day, tou need to be kind to yourself. There are enough people in this world will not want to see you succeed. Do not be among them. When you stand in the way of your own career goals or dream that's the moment you sign away any chance of realising your aspirations.

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