Many people have had That One Co-Worker.

You know the type: No matter what they’re doing, they seem to love it. They have an enviable title and even better prospects in terms of promotion and advancement. It’s like they were born for the job – in fact, you’re starting to suspect they actually live at the office.

Sound familiar? If so, the feeling of falling behind this person may also feel familiar. You may even have resigned yourself to the belief you’ll never measure up, so why try?

In fact, you can have the same joy-filled career experience. Here’s how.

Get Selfish

The first step toward career success is to stop caring about other people’s success.

This doesn’t mean you need to undermine your co-workers or become rude about their advancement. In fact, if you do lash out, you’ve failed to stop caring: You’re still engaging with what others are doing, not with what you need to be happy.

Instead, put everyone else and their careers outside your mind for a moment. Think about what you need to be happy in your career.

Start by making a list of the things that motivate you to work (aside from a paycheck):

  • Do you love group work, or thrive on independent projects?
  • Do you like making things, or helping people, or generating solutions to problems?
  • Would you rather lead a team or follow a good leader?
  • If you could reduce your daily job tasks down to your three favorite things, what would they be?

Answer these questions for yourself only. Don’t let expectations from others creep in. Ask yourself: If I had complete freedom to create a job that would make me happy, what would that job look like?

Chase Your Happiness

Once you know what your “ideal happy” job looks like, it’s time to start shaping your existing job to fit that mold. Look for opportunities that offer the things that make you happy on the job.

For example, if there’s a project that involves your favorite work-related topic, volunteer to participate. If you’re interested in developing your skills in a particular area, ask if you can receive cross-training to work in that area as well as your own. Find someone who has your ideal job and ask to job-shadow them.

Or work with a mentor. A mentor who is on the career path you envision for yourself can become one of your best allies. Since your mentor has walked the path before, they can help you spot and seize opportunities to make your actual job better match your ideal job. They can also provide perspective: Although many career paths look straight, in reality, most professionals have taken several detours before finding their true passion.

Take Small Steps for Ongoing Rewards

Changing your career path to improve your happiness will involve some big goals and long-term effort. But you don’t have to wait for those goals to materialize in order to change your mindset.

In addition to addressing your big goals, make some small changes that can boost your happiness right away:

  • Declutter your workspace. Reorganizing your workspace can bring order to your thoughts and feelings about work, too. It can help you finish disliked tasks more quickly and create more mental space and energy for tasks you enjoy.
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the art of being present in the here and now. One simple mindfulness technique is simply to pay attention to your breath, without trying to change or affect it. If you notice your mind wandering, simply bring it back to your breath. This method is portable and can be extended to fill any length of time, from a few seconds to several minutes or even hours.
  • Seek feedback. Studies indicate that seeking and receiving feedback is connected to workplace happiness. Ask for feedback on your work and implement concrete changes: You’ll be more engaged with what you do, and you’ll also get better at doing it.

Happiness: Best When Shared

Finally, remember that you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to improving your work situation. A colleague can offer you job-shadowing opportunities. Your boss can help you create a clear path toward specific goals, like a new credential or promotion. A mentor can help you take your passions and turn them into concrete steps toward a job you’ll love.

Not only can you reach out to family, friends and colleagues, but a professional recruiter can help as well.

Recruiters help professionals in various industries brush up their interview skills, polish their resumes, and find job prospects – but not just any job prospects. Your recruiter will take the time to get to know your skills, background, and career goals. They’ll figure out what kind of workplace helps you thrive, and they’ll only recommend employers they believe offer the right fit for you.

Collaborating with the right teammates can give you an additional boost – and make your victories that much sweeter to celebrate.


If you need help building a great team at your company, connect with the group at Harvard Resource Solutions. We provide the talented candidates your organization needs. Schedule a meeting with us at your earliest convenience.

Contact Harvard Resource Solutions, now hiring for Detroit jobs today.