For the X time, happiness is not about smiling

Our definition of happy isn’t very good

“Why aren’t you smiling? Aren’t you happy? Is there something wrong?”

These are questions that I hear very often and make me feel terribly annoyed. We don’t really know what happiness is or how to measure it. Just a smile could easily mean 20 different emotions. Personally, being “happy” at my job involves feeling engaged, meaningful, pleasant and comfortable in my working environment. Feeling good about my daily routine. There are ways to be this kind of happy at work and it doesn’t take much from ourselves to put them in practice.

What do you like about your job? If you’re not sure, try to think of a good day of work you had recently.

Being engaged at work isn’t as simple as “being happy”. It involves many factors around this concept. What can we do to make sure our imaginary great day takes place? Yup:

Face your demons

Let me speak to small audiences and I will entertain everybody and have lots of fun. But with big audiences, this is a different story. I get very nervous and anxious.

I realized the only way to deal with this issue is PRACTICE, confronting the problem, straight upfront. I still get nervous, but I am getting better at controlling it. I have also experienced that this same tactic applies for many other cases. In reality if you don’t take the bull by its horns, problems will stay there, dormant, very comfortable hibernating with you. The possibility to improve relies directly in your hands.

Share a treat with a coworker (A.K.A La Hora Gordita)

We might think interaction with coworkers outside our job tasks is something trivial and unimportant, but in the contrary: this kind of social behavior supports bonding and building better relationships between teams.

It can be something as informal as “La Hora Gordita”. In the QA team I currently work with, we used to have The Fatty Hour (which wasn’t really an hour, just a break). Its purpose was basically having a sinful treat while we relaxed for a bit and just joke around or talk about the latest box office movie, our next Team Building event’s location or complain about something random.

Don’t use a checklist. Instead think about accomplishments.

Checklists from hell become an endless source of things that need to be done. Instead of strictly following this list, focus on the continuous progress and you will feel satisfied about the results that are being achieved.

Likewise, be prepared to accept failure and learn from your mistakes.

Stop the mechanical, boring routine.

In my case, I take care of my mood by starting my day exercising. At work, when I get a sense of weariness, I try to stir things up by changing the original order of tasks I had planned or use a different tool than the one I am accustomed to.

There are other ways like taking breaks:
- to play a videogame
- check social media
- breath and appreciate the landscape

The important thing is to break the pattern by taking care of your mood.

Master the ancient art of saying NO

There have been many times when someone has requested something from me at the worse time possible and my answer has been: “hmm, yeah, I am busy right now but sure, I will help you”.

That sure transformed into workload that consumed a lot of time, shifting everything in my calendar. I am not the kind of person that commits to something and doesn’t finish it, so even though I was able to help with this unexpected task and complete my daily activities, I ended up staying late and working more hours to be able to finish with everything. When this type of behavior is recurring, we end up burning ourselves.

Instead I should have declined and said something like: currently I am not able to commit but here’s what I can do […] or we can reschedule. This doesn’t mean we have to over-explain but we need to be honest about our situation.

You can be a kind, gentle person and still say NO. It is CRUCIAL learning to say no because being able to say it means that we have awareness of what our limits are. Don’t lie. Just say no.

Staying humble

Remember that no matter how good you are at what you do, you are not indispensable.

Be comfortable with imperfection.

Real happiness comes from finding meaning in what you do.

Being happy at work means that I have a sense of purpose within my job. At the end, we are the ones with the responsibility and choice of #CodingOurOwnHappiness.

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PMPO / QA at @EncoraInc | Practitioner in Agile Quality trainer | Coffee addict 🇭🇳 🇲🇽 ✨ she/her