If you find yourself disengaged and unhappy, start doing something about it says Brandi Britton
Many administrative workers like their jobs and are glad they’ve embarked on this demanding career. However, a recent Robert Half study suggests that not all admins love what they do — at least not when compared with other professionals.
For the report, It’s Time We All Work Happy®, we asked over 12,000 employees across the U.S. and Canada to rate their job satisfaction. Out of eight fields, administrative staff ranked sixth in their level of happiness — just above workers in financial services and finance. Undoubtedly related, responses from administrative professionals indicated they are also less interested in their jobs than those in creative and marketing, legal, human resources and technology.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are practical, achievable steps that can be taken to achieve greater happiness at work.
What makes admins happy?
Different factors drive job satisfaction for different people, but our research reveals the following three aspects describe an administrative professional who is happy at work:
- Pride in your organization. You respect your employer’s vision and feel fortunate to be part of such a vital and talented group. What’s more, you understand the ways that your role helps the company meet its mission.
- Feeling appreciated for the work you do. Your boss values all the things you do to keep the department or company organized and running smoothly. You receive frequent thanks — through words and deeds — for your professionalism and customer service.
- Interest in your work. Every job has both stimulating and dull aspects. While some of your duties may be tedious, you are challenged and energized by the majority of your assignments.
How to be happier at work
OK, those aspects sound reasonable, but how do you get there? There are many things you can do to boost your level of happiness and interest in your role. Here are five suggestions:
Learn something new. With all the meetings you have to plan, and travel you need to arrange, an assistant’s job can become repetitive. Carve out time to master a new skill. For example, enroll in classes and work through study guides on Word, Excel, PowerPoint and/or Outlook, and then take an exam to become a certified Microsoft Office Specialist. This step may not even cost you any money, as many employers reimburse workers for tuition and certifications. This move could even net you a raise!
Tweak your position. If you enjoy doing certain tasks that aren’t in your job description, see if you can add them in. Say you have a talent for social media, graphic design, hiring and staffing, or online research, but they’re not part of your current job. Speak to your executive about adjusting your job description to do more of what you love. This change could greatly improve your attitude if you’ve been bored in your current role.
Do a good deed. Most employers have some aspect of corporate social responsibility as part of their business model. Even if they don’t, they might be open to giving their workers paid time off to volunteer in the community. Helping others, especially alongside fellow coworkers, is an excellent way to feel proud of your company.
Blow your own trumpet. How do hard-working assistants get the recognition they deserve? One simple way is to inform your boss of successes, but do it professionally. Did a major client thank you for going above and beyond? Forward that email to your manager with a comment about how nice it was working with that person. When updating your boss about her calendar, mention how, for example, your extra research saved the company money on travel without sacrificing a direct flight.
Rebalance work and personal life. Brainstorm some ways to rebalance your life — and workload. Perhaps you could work remotely when the boss is traveling, or use an extra pair of hands to lighten the load during the holiday season. Then approach your manager with these suggestions.Life is too short to spend it being miserable at work.
You have choices if you occasionally dislike or even hate your job. So, if you’re finding yourself disengaged and unhappy, start doing something about it today.