We all have our dream job in mind. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t lucky enough to have our dream job. Most of us have to settle for other opportunities just out of college, and many others stick with well-paying, semi-rewarding jobs while letting those dreams go forever.
The good news is that you can get the most out of any job, no matter what it is! Every job has its positives and negatives, and every position has something to teach us, if only we would listen.
Whether you type on a computer, answer phones, or pick up garbage, these tips will help you get the most out of your job.
1. Know When You Can Take Time off and Take It.
Workplace policies can be complicated. On top of that, they don’t stay the same. Workplace safety guidelines are rapidly changing in the age of coronavirus, which means sick leave and paid time off policies are expanding.
It’s important to know how much time you can take off when you can take it off, and how to put in your time off. Not only do you deserve a vacation, but you also deserve to stay home when you feel sick, for your sake and everyone else’s.
Don’t let your workplace pressure you into coming into work if you have time off you can take. Know who you have to notify if you won’t be coming in, and know how much time you have to take off so you can take a mental health day, a sick day, or a vacation whenever you need it.
2. Take Advantage of Workplace Perks.
There are some workplace perks that nearly everyone takes advantage of, like health insurance, but there may be many other perks that you’re leaving on the table.
Know the perks that your workplace provides, and don’t hesitate to take advantage of them. Just a few workplace perks you could be missing out on include:
- 401(k) matching
- Life insurance
- Education stipend
- Discounted or free products
- Errand services
- Transit and parking permits
- Child care
If you aren’t sure what perks are available, don’t be afraid to ask! Talk to other coworkers about the perks they take advantage of, ask a trusted supervisor, or ask HR if they can provide you with a list of options, as well as who to contact about each one if you’re interested.
3. Build Positive Relationships With Coworkers.
Work isn’t all about work. It’s also about the people you work with! With the right attitude and a little effort, you can have at least a few friends in the workplace.
Having friends in the workplace will make going to work a lot more pleasant, but it can also make you better at your job. Having friends in the workplace makes you seven times more likely to be engaged in your job.
Friends in the office can encourage you to apply for that promotion, they can be a sounding board when you’re struggling, and they can help you look forward to coming to work each and every day.
4. Make Professional Connections.
Cultivating friendships in the workplace is important, but you shouldn’t just be focused on personal relationships. All of your coworkers, supervisors, and management can provide you with professional connections that will serve you throughout your professional career.
Most people worry about growing a social network when they’re looking for a job, but it’s actually much better to start when you’re in a comfortable position. They can provide you with an easy way to gather references and letters of recommendation should you ever decide to pursue a different opportunity.
5. Create Boundaries and Stick to Them.
Creating boundaries is difficult because you’re likely to rub at least a few people the wrong way, but they are extremely important. Making your boundaries clear and sticking to them can help you know, without a doubt, the expectations of your position while ensuring everyone else knows those expectations too.
You may want to make it clear that you will be leaving at the same time every night, you aren’t going to work on Saturdays, or might tell others you prefer email. Don’t be afraid to tell others if they are crossing your boundaries. You’ll enjoy your workday a lot more if you don’t feel like you’re being taken advantage of.
6. Maximize Your Breaks.
It’s easy to plow through your breaks in the name of getting more work done, but that’s a bad idea. Breaks can help you return to your work refreshed, which can actually help you do a better job, and in some cases, even get done faster.
Just make sure you maximize your break time. For example, instead of getting riled up by looking at social media, take a quick walk or meditate. You’ll feel much better when you return if you take the time to do something relaxing and rejuvenating.
7. Unplug From Work at the End of the Day.
In today’s world, it’s easy to be plugged into work all day, every day. From text messages to emails, it isn’t uncommon for many employees to get into the habit of communicating with others at work long after the workday ends.
You deserve time to rest and recuperate! Not to mention, it’s important to remember that there’s a lot more to you than what you do for a living.
Completely unplug when you leave work by making it clear that you won’t be answering messages of any kind after a certain time. You should also look for something to do that completely takes your mind off of work. Find a hobby or spend time with friends so you completely forget about work and focus on something else for a while.
Most of us won’t ever find that one perfect dream job, but your current job could be closer to your ultimate goal than you think. It’s not always about the position — it’s often what you do in your position that determines whether or not you get the most out of your job.