Adam Faryna blog

How To be Happy With Whatever You Are Doing

Are you working in your dream job, or you just trade your life in the job you hate just to pay the bills? If it’s a former then congratulations. If it’s a later, well let me tell you that you can still make your job far more enjoyable, even if now you hate it.

Here are few strategies that I applied in my life that made big difference.

When dream job gets bad

First off, let me share with you story from my life how the dream job started to suck.

I always wanted to be professional programmer. Back then, the idea to be paid by writing some pieces of code, was the coolest thing that I could imagined. And then, my dream come true and I started working as one. It was all great at first, but after 2-3 years I really started to hate it. So many things were off.

To name a few, I was told to use only specific programming environment only, the one that everyone else was using. The environment was static, nobody wanted to try anything new, to innovate. People had stron opinions about the things they never tried.

Every day I worked mostly on buring tickets, that all looked the same. More than once, I was told on Monday to work on something only to be told on Friday that it will never be released because “decision makers changed their decisions”.

I was so pissed off, but I had to swallow that, somehow, not once but many times over my career.

Reframe your experience

So how I managed to deal with that?

I found simple solution. I started to reframe the entire situation, and context.

Instead of thinking that somebody just trashed 5 days of my work without even saying “sorry”, I thought I get paid for these 5 days anyway, and I don’t have to maintain any extra piece of code. Cool!

Until then I thought code typed by myself was some form of art. How stupid I was!

I changed my attitude to just be paid by being on the position of being “programmer”, and the outcome is sometime a code, sometimes something else, and sometimes nothing. At the end of the day, the only thing that mattered was to keep my manager happy, and got paid, period.

Later I went further and instead of just being “code typer” I started discussing given tasks, sharing my opinions, and experiences. Eventually, I ended up as a team lead, and become go-to-guy to get first hand opinion how things have to be done, if they have to be done at all. And I achieved that by being foreigner, with pretty bad English.

So if you stuck in shitty position, try to reframe your experience. Than if possible go further, and think of yourself as a consultant, not disposable worker. The result may suprise you.

Personalize everything you can

Another strategy is to personalize your environment as much as you can slash want.

Here are some ideas:

  • change screen background to something you like
  • change the color of cursor
  • use your favorite code editor
  • you have to use headphones? Use your favorite ones
  • use your favorite mouse pad
  • use your favorite keyboard
  • use your favorite X whatever
  • put comfortable pillow on your chair
  • change your monitor
  • put some plant on the desk or something else you like
  • put on the socks you like, pants, whatever

The possibilities are limitless, and if you apply them all in, you may find you really started enjoying doing what once you hated.

Moreover, I think that can be applied to everything not only computer related jobs. For example, even if you collect trash on the streets, you can wear the hat you like. Maybe you can dress entirelly like you like. Can you listen to the music you enjoy? Go for it! Do you have shades you like, put them on. Grow the beard. Why not? And on and on.

There is always something you can personalize in your work, no matter what’s your position is.

Give yourself a challange

If the job you are doing is mundane, dull activity - even if it’s not, but you just think about it that way - there is a good cure for that. Give yourself a challange.

In coding it might be to write some code using new methodology for you like TTD - so you would start writing tests first. Or you might want to start with creating placeholders for everything, and then fill the gaps. If you experiment that way you can find new ways of doing your work that are more efficient, and enjoyable.

If the job you are doing is just mundane, repeatable activity done all day long, give yourself a challange to do it faster, or better in some way. Do it for yourself, nobody else. Don’t look for external sources of validation for your personal challanges.

The challange is only for yourself and nobody else has to know about it, or have a say about it. You don’t have to ask others for their opinion, or permission. You do it for your own sake, nobody else.

Even if nobody will appreciate the results, you can pat yourself on the back. Growth in the confidence to own abilities, to give yourself a challange, and succeed is a worthy asset.

The important part is to succeed in the eyes of the most important person in your life - yourself.

That’s it.

I’ve got most inspiration to write this post after applying lessons from awesome book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in my own life. Highly recommended read for everyone who wants to live more rewarding lifes.

Let me know your strategies to make your work more enjoyable by leaving the comment on [Twitter].

If you found this post valuable, and you know someone who would benefit from reading it, feel free to share it.

Thanks for reading.

Enjoyed the story? Get updates on new articles. I don't share this anywhere else.

You can opt out any time.