Let’s face it: Not every position is our dream job. In fact, in 2013, less than half of Americans were satisfied at work.
The good news is that if you’re willing to take a few extra steps at the office, you might find yourself more engaged, more productive—and happier. MainStreet rounded up five ways to make work something you actually (gasp!) look forward to.
1. Plan out a career trajectory you do want to pursue. Companies won’t always be comfortable with you changing your career path, but it’s worth talking with your manager about trying new things. Take the time to write out a personal development plan with your goals, interests and learning opportunities, and show it to your superiors.
2. Find a mentor. Join your company’s mentoring program, or if one isn’t available, ask someone more senior to have lunch with you a few times a month. This will broaden the scope of co-workers you interact with and possibly help you transition into a new role.
3. Take on additional opportunities at the company. Ask yourself how your interests align with the goals of the company, and seek out responsibilities you might not have been hired to do—but that will help achieve those goals. Be prepared to present what you’re looking to take on during your annual review.
4. Study up. You don’t have to shell out for an expensive degree to learn useful skills. Try online courses on websites like Khan Academy or Coursera to explore areas of interest and enhance your resume.
5. Take advantage of the positives. Make a list of what you do enjoy about your current job, whether it’s the snacks in the break room, company outings, or even co-workers you spend time with. Your job doesn’t have to be your social life, but it doesn’t hurt to build community.