Category Archives for "Be Happy At Work"

Gratitude at work
Oct 09

5 Things To Be Thankful For At Work

By Kristen Duever | Be Happy At Work


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer

This is the time of year when many Canadians are reflecting on things that they are thankful for.

Most of us would put things such as family, friends and health at the top of our lists. But what are you thankful for in the context of your workplace?

Even if your job is not ideal, you can still find things to be thankful for at work.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that simple acts of gratitude can reduce stress and even improve your psychological and physical health*.

We can practice gratitude by connecting head and heart and focusing on the positive. Among the beneficial effects of this are a surge of dopamine and positive effects on blood pressure, blood sugar and EEG rhythms.

So what are you grateful for at work? Here’s a list to get you started! 

1. The problems you were hired to solve.

Most people don’t think of problems as things to be thankful for – but you were hired to solve problems! As an engineer, you may be solving very technical problems or as a cashier you may be solving the problem of how customers can make a purchase.

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed at our jobs because of the workload – especially if there are other stressors affecting us outside of our jobs.

It helps to put things in perspective, listen to our heart, and remember that the reason why any company hires someone is to help meet those challenges and solve problems. 

Without problems, there are no jobs. A good reason to be grateful. 

2. Your co-workers!

Do you have co-workers who have your back at work? Do you have co-workers who you rely on to get projects done? Is there someone at work who will listen to you rant when you just need to vent. Then that’s something to be thankful for!

Most of us have jobs where we work as part of a team. Even if the task you do is mainly solo, chances are somewhere along the line, there is another person in the company who helps move things along. Since most of us spend more of our waking hours with co-workers than we do with family, it is important to cultivate good relationships with our colleagues.
Having good relationships at work can help improve morale, reduce stress and even lead to increased productivity for the company.

Human beings are social creatures and we need other human beings to thrive.

3. ​Your unique skills

​You bring something special to your workplace. Over the years, you have developed a set of skills that is unique to you. These skills are not merely your “hard skills” such as computer programming, driving a forklift or baking the perfect soufflé etc. – but they also include “soft skills” that you were not necessarily hired for but have become an asset to your company.

For example, do you have a knack for seeing a problem from a different angle and coming up with creative solutions? Are you the peacekeeper when there is a dispute between co-workers? Are you the one who knows how to make everyone laugh? Without your unique skills, your workplace wouldn’t be the same!

Spend some time thinking about your unique skills and how you can use them to make the company that you work for a better place.

Even if you don’t fully realize what your unique skills are yet – you do have them. And you can be thankful for them.

4. Your competition!

Competition has always existed in the workplace. You may be part of a team that is always trying to stay one step ahead of another business in the same industry. Or there may even be competition from co-workers within your own company.

Sometimes having competition can feel stressful.

But it can also challenge you to try new things and keep improving yourself.

And who knows, someday that co-worker that you’re competing with might just become a great ally and friend.

5. Yourself.

No matter how many different jobs you have on your career path, there is always going to be one constant – and that is you.

You have the ability to determine your own vision and set your course.

You can take control of your career and take the steps necessary to achieve your goals. You might want to engage the help of a mentor or career coach, but ultimately the decision and the power is yours.

Learn to recognize this within yourself and be thankful.

Aug 14

Six Smart Strategies for Making the Best First Impression at Work

By Kristen Duever | Be Happy At Work

Kristen Duever


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer

Whether you're starting out or an experienced professional, here are six smart strategies for making the best, first impression at work!

Being the new kid on the block at work can be an exciting time.

You’ve passed the interview stage and beat out the other applicants. You’ve proven your worth – at least enough to get the job.

But it can also be a stressful time.  There's a lot of change and some of it can be hard to figure out when everything is so new.

If you’re starting out, you might be worried about your inexperience and wondering how you can make the best impression.

Or, you might be an experienced professional and you’re looking for the best path to advancement in your career. How do you make a good first impression and set yourself up for success during these all important first few weeks on the job?

These feelings are all normal and they can even help you excel because it means you are well-aware that you are still under scrutiny. Having an acute awareness of this will help you to take care in how you present yourself.

Take this opportunity to cultivate ideas that will help you make a good impression. Think about your own strengths and what you have to offer the company.

How can you best present those strengths to your new manager? As you look within, you will undoubtedly come up with some ideas of your own but the list below will help you get a good start.

Here are six smart strategies to help you get started:

1. Learn how your manager likes to communicate.

We all have our preferred methods of communication – and your boss does too.

Some bosses prefer always talking face to face, while others like text or email. Some bosses prefer you to pick up the phone and dial their extension even if their office is only ten feet away!

Try to learn and then use your boss’s preferred method of communication in the majority of your dealings with them.  You can find out their preferred method of communication by observing them or asking them directly. You can also ask a co-worker.

2. Over-communicate.

When you are new, it’s better to provide too much communication than too little.

You might ask your boss if they would like daily or weekly reports.

If you have several items you need to discuss, keep a list and then ask your boss when she has time to go through them all at once.  Just remember to keep a professional demeanour and not to be overly needy.

Keeping your manager apprised of your progress on projects and seeking advice when required will demonstrate that you are learning your new duties and are invested in the company’s success.

3. Be a problem solver not a problem finder.

Every job has its challenges and before long you will run into your first problem.  As a new hire, you may not have a sense of how much authority you have to make decisions. Until you know, it is better to ask.

When you go to your boss with a problem, try to bring her a solution as well.  “This is what I’ve run into and here’s I how I would like to deal with it?”

If the problem is because of a mistake that you made, own up to it. And propose a solution.  Even if your boss prefers a different solution, using this approach will show that you have initiative. It will show that you have the interests of the company at heart.

4. Jump in with both feet!

Show your commitment to the company by volunteering for assignments or by asking co-workers if you can help with something.

Look for ways that you can get involved in the company culture. Maybe join a social committee or help organize the company blood drive.  Just make sure that you are not taking on more than you can handle.

Remember, your core job duties must come first!

5. Stay out of office politics!

One of the quickest ways to get stressed at work is to get embroiled in office politics. Undoubtedly your new company will have its share. Try to be friendly and professional with everyone.

Avoid water-cooler gossip.This will help you to have a good reputation as a team player.

6. Be yourself!

Finally, making a good impression at work should never mean being someone you’re not. You have to be yourself.

As Oscar Wilde once quipped, “everyone else is taken”.

If you are trying to show off, it will be obvious – and annoying.

When working out ways to make a good impression remember to connect your head and heart.

This means taking time to look within and generate more positivity.

Because when you feel better, you will do better.

When you are less stressed and more resilient, you will have more to offer your employer and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

Connecting head and heart is more than mere positive thinking. It is about using proven strategies and making lasting change from the inside out.

A qualified coach can help you learn to do this.

Employ the strategies above while staying true to yourself.

Your boss and co-workers will appreciate you all the more for it.

How Love Can Save Your Career - Shirin Khamisa
Feb 13

A Simple Practice Of Love That Can SAVE Your Career

By Shirin Khamisa | Be Happy At Work

Shirin Khamisa - Careers by Design Founder


Written by Shirin Khamisa, Founder, Careers by Design

A simple practice of love that can SAVE your career.

The practice that I am about to share with you is a fitting one for Valentine’s day.

Not only have I seen it save careers but it also rescued my relationship with my partner when we were going through a tough time.

We’ve been together now for more than 20 years and still going strong.

If your career or love relationship needs a BOOST, this is one practice that can turn things around quickly.

Where Is The Love?

If you are going to work day after day and feeling bored, drained or stressed, it’s easy to lose perspective about what’s possible for your future.

Living in fear of an overbearing boss or working in a toxic work environment can really take a toll on your confidence and self-esteem.

Even keeping up with the fast pace of work can have a significant impact on our ability to cope with day to day challenges. Many of us feel powerless to change the situation. This is a normal automatic reaction to these circumstances.

The good news is - we can take our brains off auto-pilot and redirect them to help us be more in sync with life.

What You Can Do. Right Now.

A daily practice of directing our thoughts to focus on what’s right and what we are grateful for creates positive powerful feelings of wellbeing.

It’s from this more positive place that good ideas and practical actions steps follow. When you live in gratitude, you put yourself back in control and you literally change the way that your brain responds to your environment.

It Sounds Good. BUT ....

If you are like most of my clients, you may be thinking one of the following right now:

"My situation is so bad that it won’t make any difference, besides there is nothing good about it."
"I’ve heard this before. It’s too simple to work."
"That’s it? That’s the powerful practice that is supposed to save my career?!"

Year after year, I’ve sat across from people and seen this simple practice change and transform lives and careers.

A financial analyst I coached was able to see new opportunities for growth in a job where he felt underutilized. A marketing manager who was tired of promoting a product she didn’t feel good about worked up the courage to find a position promoting a charity event raising funds for cancer research. When a small business owner started focusing more on what he was accomplishing,he started feeling a sense of pride and was less overwhelmed.

It will work for you, too!

Rose Coloured Glasses?

It’s not about thinking positive and ignoring the reality of the situation.

In fact, we are creating a more balanced view by finding the good that is present in difficult times.

We all have a powerful force within to create the energy to change.

When we feel stuck in a dark place, love, appreciation and gratitude are the fuel that propels us to greater heights.

The catch is: we have to direct our brains to create these positive states on a regular basis to get the benefits.

When our brains are plagued with negativity, that’s what we focus on.

We need regular doses of gratitude to come back into balance and joy.

I Double Dare You.

I dare you to connect to love, appreciation and gratitude.

I dare you to re-wire your brain.

This Valentine’s Day, commit to some self care. For one week do the simple but powerful practice developed by Dr. Martin Seligman, the leader of the positive psychology movement. I bet you will feel so good that you will decide to continue.

Three Good Things (Also called: The 3 Blessings Exercise)

Every day before you lay your head down to rest, list 3 good things and why they happened to you. They can be small things like a cheerful greeting from a neighbour or something much bigger.

To begin changing your feelings about the difficulty you are facing, list 3 good things specifically about your challenging life or work situation or relationship.

Here are some of the things I’m grateful for.

1. I’m grateful that you’re reading this!

Why it happened + why I feel good about it:
I pushed past my comfort zone and started blogging. I made space in my life for my priorities.

2. I’m grateful that I paused and admired a rainbow and a spectacular sunset.

Why it happened + Why I feel good about it:
When I noticed the sky was a blazing orange-pink, I decided to pause my work and appreciate the view.

3. I’m grateful I stopped to share a special moment with a friend.

Why it happened + Why I feel good about it:
When she shared something from the heart, I took the time to listen and savour the moment of connection.

Now it’s your turn. Share your experience and what’s joyful for you in the comments below.

Connect Head & Heart To Move Forward

We help you to build the skills for success and to stop sabotaging your career.  
Get started with our most popular service - the jam-packed one hour
Turning Point career coaching session.

Happy Dance - Careers by Design
Sep 15

Happy Dance

By Shirin Khamisa | Be Happy At Work


Written by Shirin Khamisa, Founder, Careers by Design

My Happy Dance is a tribal groove.

We’ve been led to believe that if we’re serious about success, we will be rewarded.

But there is another way.

Research from the field of positive psychology is pointing to the fact that happiness leads to success.

Positive emotions are like rocket fuel for success.

They give us the energy we need to keep going when times are tough.

They enable our brains to make creative connections and to literally see more possibilities.

This is something I often have to remind my inner taskmaster.

If you are conspiring to make a wish come true, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

• What activities, people or places make you want to boogie?

• If you could design your ideal day, what would you do and who would you do it with?

• What was the highlight of your week? Why?

The highlight of my week is writing this post and getting back to the joy of writing!  Writing fills me with a sense of anticipation and excitement.

It is a fun and playful activity where I am compelled to be fully present and in a state of flow.

Now for extra points, ask yourself:

What does positive emotion feel like in your body?  Does a smile break free from your lips?

Does tension melt away from your tired muscles or does adrenaline pump through your veins when you experience bliss?  

Congratulations, you’ve done some detective work.

It’s time for your reward!  Right now, while you are thinking about it, schedule some fun into your week.

(That is, if you are still reading. Some may have already turned up the music and started dancing their Happy Dance….)

Beat Stress & Move Forward

We help you to build the skills for success and to stop sabotaging your career.  
Get started with our most popular service - the jam-packed one hour Turning Point career coaching session.