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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

The Simple Change That'll Make You Happier at Work

people happy at work
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At your meeting this morning, your co-worker made a snarky comment and your boss didn’t even address your big project.

You could react in one of two ways.

You could stew on it and watch your productivity wane. Or, you could choose to give both people the benefit of the doubt. Rather than assuming the worst, you could pick to assume the best.

For example, maybe you misinterpreted your colleague’s comment. And perhaps your boss skipped over you because she knows you’ve got a handle on things, and she’s trying to encourage those lagging behind.

By giving others the benefit of the doubt, you’ll feel a lot happier at work because you won’t be held back by resentment or anger. Just think about how much easier it would be to get back to your work when your mindset changes from “My boss ignores everything I’m working on,” to “My boss doesn’t micromanage me.”

If you’re having trouble getting to this place, think back to the time you wrote an email on your commute and later realized it was curt. Or when you were rude because of something going on outside of work—that had nothing to do with your colleague. Really, if you allow yourself to stop obsessing over the small things, you’ll free up all the time and energy you would’ve spent worrying about it.

Now, obviously, I’m not suggesting you simply pretend a bad situation is a good one. If a co-worker’s regularly rude to you or your boss always plays favorites: Take action.

In the case of your colleague, you could open a discussion with something like: “I was hoping to chat about our communication styles. I’m not very sarcastic and I tend to take comments like what you said personally.” (If he doesn’t change his tune after your talk, you may need to elevate the discussion to your manager or HR.) In the case of the absentee boss, say: “I have questions before I move ahead to the next stage of my project. Can we schedule a one-on-one?”

But overall, when the situation doesn’t feel serious enough to warrant a follow-up meeting, try this strategy. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when you choose to think positively.