Don't hate me because I'm happy.
It isn't because I love my job, or I delight in spending time with my co-workers, or I'm getting stupid rich on my fat salary. I hate my job, I loathe my co-workers, and as far as getting rich on my salary, I can't even get poor on my salary.
So why am I happy and you are miserable?
Because I read "10 Tips for Staying Happy at Work" by Beverly West, a contributing writer for Monster.
At first blush, West's suggestion did not make me happy. Ten tips could really eat into my gaming, shopping and napping time. But I figured I should start with one, and if that made me even a little happy, I would go on to the next, and the next, until I was bubbling, burbling fountain of joy.
If you want to be happy at work, here are five tips I've curated just for you:
1. Keep personal problems personal.
Don't bring your big, ugly personal problems to work. Every morning, when you pack your little lunchbox and head out for work, shut the door on the overdue bills that are stacking up and the new episodes of "One Day at a Time" you don't have time to binge. Keep personal problems at home and work problems at work. That way, you'll feel confident that you will have problems everywhere you go.
(One way of leaving problems at home is to bring your pet to work. You won't be worrying about Fiona Petty Pickles when she's lying under your desk, quietly barfing up hairballs. Many companies allow employees to bring dogs to work. Unfortunately, the policy changes when it comes to parrots, ferrets and anacondas. Better check with HR first because you have one of each — or you did when you left work this morning.)
2. Create an office nest.
"Make your space your own, decorate your office as much as company policy permits, and make yourself as comfortable and relaxed as you can," says West. Or, as I say, "It's Hummel Time!"
If you're like me, counting on precious porcelain figurines to fund your retirement, you'll want to install a burglar alarm system in your cube, or, maybe, a moat. Heaven knows what those animals you work with will do with your Apple Tree Boy while you're lost in a world of Hummel happiness.
3. Eat healthy and drink lots of water.
It has become common to see co-workers show up to meetings with water bottles. Get yourself a growler of water, and plop it down on the conference room table when you arrive. Or, if you want to show your sportif side, start wearing a CamelBak when you come to work. These devices have a straw-like device to loudly slurp water from the one-gallon reservoir you carry on your back. There's nothing to make you happy than a "more hydrated than you" attitude.
4. Move around.
"Take a few minutes during your workday to get up and move a little," says Jason Bergund, founding director of Dancetherapy. There is an easy way to do this — leave your phone in the coffee room, set the ringer to high. Every time it rings, you dash across the office like a crazy person, shouting, "It's for me! It's for me!" I recommend a different technique — go on YouTube and watch a "learn ballet" video. It shouldn't take long before you get the basic moves. Then, instead of walking from your workstation, pirouette to meetings, sales appointments and confabs with HR.
As a beginning ballet dancer your steps might seem a little — how shall I say it — elephantine. But don't be discouraged. You were born to dance, and you look really good in a tutu.
5. Take a breather.
Yoga teacher Sarah Shain recommends you take a break from whatever work you're not doing to "stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Inhale deeply, then exhale laughter and bend forward. Try to do this movement 10 times."
This is called "laughing yoga" and it sounds like a very effective break. While I limit my yoga practice to looking through the storefront window at a nearby hot yoga studio, which is not a bad way to induce laughter, by the way, I suggest you try a slight variation on this technique. Instead of laughing, you groan.
I call it "crying yoga" and, trust me, it's perfect for you.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at creators.com.