3 Ways to Successfully Pursue Professional Happiness

November 17, 2011

This is a guest post on best practices around social networking from Nicole Williams. For similar posts check out our series on networking tips and tricks here. - Ed.

Despite the global economic crisis and what feels like an endless cycle of doom and gloom in the world of work, we seem to have found a bright spot. In a recent survey conducted of more than 12,000 professionals from around the globe the vast majority indicated they are actually happy with their current job.

If you’re shaking your head thinking your glass isn’t quite as full as for those individuals, we thought we’d share three ways to finding a little more happiness (and success) in your career.

Fly Above the Radar. Happiness correlates with the feeling of power both over ourselves and our performance so it’s not surprising that the survey found that more than half of all global professionals feel like if they work hard and demonstrate results, they’ll have the opportunity to advance…and they’re right.

But the key here is in the demonstration. From updating your status (after making sure you and your boss are connected) to mentioning how delighted the client was with your new marketing strategy while riding the elevator together, now is not the time to sit back and play the wallflower. Get out of the mindset of being fearful of being perceived as a show-off.  Make it appear effortless (as in, don’t complain or lament how hard you’re working) and make sure to include the fact that your team was an integral part of your success (which frankly makes work infinitely more fun) and you’ll become that much closer to a mountain of perks.

Ask for the Promotion. And what will make us even happier? Other than in the Netherlands where professionals are happy where they’re at, the majority of us want our efforts to be acknowledged and rewarded in the form of a promotion.

But here’s the thing we all need to remember:  a promotion won’t just land in our lap.   They need to be pursued with effort (take the initiative to learn a new skill), require demonstrable results (make sure you add those new LinkedIn Skills to your profile), and are best negotiated for in the context of supporting a team (offer it up).  Oh yeah, and putting a smile to your face when you ask doesn’t hurt either.

Be Thankful. Sure, you didn’t get a raise this year but you have a kick butt manager who makes sure you’re front and center at client meetings reaping all the glory.  At this point, at least you have a job and a healthy dose of appreciation makes work infinitely more enjoyable…and will help you be more successful.

Think of it this way: the more thankful you are for what’s going right, the more you’re going to enjoy your job, the better you will perform and the more likely you are to be rewarded.  At the end of the day, the majority of us have to work, and considering the fact that at least 40 of our hours are going to be spend on the job we may as well make them good and attitude has a lot to do with it. Gratitude is contagious.  The more you focus on what you’re thankful for in your job (even if it’s the free coffee and the walking distance commute) the more likely good things will come your way.