How can I find a happy atmosphere to work in?
How can you tell that a company has the right work/culture environment for you? Should you be able to tell in the job interview? I have never worked in a happy atmosphere and I am wondering what I'm missing when I interview for jobs. Am I interviewing for the wrong companies? Should I look for non government positions? Is the private sector a happier place to work in? Am I asking too much from a company to be a happy place? Should I expect to not have a positive environment when at work? Any feedback on what makes a happy working environment and how to find one would be appreciated. Thanks!
90% of this is "self determined"
You will be happy in a work environment if you choose to be.
I have known lots of people that worked in challenging environments and with challenging people, but they always have a smile on their face.
Conversely I have also know quite a few people that worked for great companies with great people and they were always unhappy.
I think this is almost entirely determined by the situation one chooses to place themselves in mentally.
If you choose to make the best of whatever situation you are in and "don't sweat the small stuff" you can make any situation a "happy" one. On the other hand if you choose to worry about what others are doing or to get bogged down in things you cannot change (that is not to say that you don't make an effort to improve things) you will not be happy.
Bottom line (and you probably don't want to hear this) reevaluate yourself and your own perspective, if you change your attitude you will be happy in whatever work environment you choose.
In agreement with Pavel but I'd like to add though that, all of those points would mean nothing if your definition of "happy" is not consistent with what is on offer. My advice would be to "create one" whether within the same environment you're working in or perhaps somewhere else. And if it means changing jobs, then go ahead and be happy because, sometimes and sadly, people just don't like change or someone with differing views and if you bring something new (and it could be as trivial as as you're head scarf) to the workplace, it could spiral into a whole new "downward" working relationship.
What is the right work/culture environment?Liz, you pose an excellent question and deserves an excellent answer. Unfortunately, I don't see any, the answers given so far are just addressing "symptoms" of the real culprit behind a negative/wrong work environment, namely, a dominant hierarchy. So, you need to find out if the organizational structure is based on a Participative Hierarchy or the typical dominant hierarchy. You see, only the Participative Hierarchy allows for the optimal level of the six psychological criteria for fulfilling work (i.e., http://sustainablesystemsinternational.org/?page_id=8).
JC Wandemberg Ph.D.
I love the job I apply for, I have prior experience or knowledge, I am passionate at work, I avoid clinging to group for rumors or grapevine, I have 'just do it ' attitude, I love learning and exploring new knowledge and expertise, always in the urge to provide solutions, analytically thinking and finding solutions through simple best steps or procedures, I avoid office politics in fact very ignorant about it and having a job position which doesn't require me to do too much communication with stakeholders or customers, I have patience for my appraisal and promotions, I speak less, discreet, precise, clear and straight forward avoiding me gossiping or others to gossip with me. Basically just doing my work what it requires for me to do in the first place.
I think others have done a good job on this one. My view is that it is a multi part process. You need to understand how your workday will go on a regular basis. You need to talk with people at multiple levels inside the company and yiu need to decide if you are going to be Passionate about what you will be doing. With Passion, it is not work. It is about helping others get what they want.
Happy places live between our own two ears. That being said, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of joining another company with a culture you don't like. Know what you think will make you happy, and ask them about it during the interview. Is it flexibility, or being social outside of work, or a lot of group projects, or a lot of independence? Knowing what you think is a happy environment will help you evaluate the Emotional Quotient of your job. The government is a very regulated industry and there are private sectors with a lot of regulation as well, if you don't like pushing papers for instance, find another industry. Start by knowing what type of work you like...being alone or being with people as an example, and take it from there. Also, if you get offered a job ask them to provide you with an employee or two that you can talk to and see what they have to say. If your're not hired by your boss ask to have a conversation with him before you accept. Just remember, no one can make you happy except yourself because it's a state of mind, not a state of employment. To your SWEET success!
Really simple Liz - know your values and look for the values of the other person/organisation when you are speaking to them.
Wishing you a happy 2015.
All the best,
It's very difficult to know whether the culture of a company is one that would fit your standards of a happy working environment. Asking probing questions during the interview might give you an insight but would not guarantee that that insight is accurate. More often than not, one only finds out once they are already in. You can only make the most of what you have. My advice is for you to simply adapt to whatever environment you find yourself in. That way you will not have to be too frustrated or disappointed with the company's culture. Try to blend in and lower your expectations of people. For as long as the environment is conducive enough for you to perform your job well, be content with that. If people are unfriendly at work, try not to let it matter as long as they easy to work with. Other than that, just be yourself.
It is your perception , how you wish to be happy. All places of work are alike because everywhere you would find work laid out for you. Once you have an assignment on your desk you would find happiness completing the same. All persons around will also be found working that will give you even more happiness. Hence you have to create your own happiness not only at the workplace but all places and at all times. Only this attitude can keep you happy.
Liz, I feel your pain - and you are not alone.
My own CV reads like a Chinese Restaurant menu, mainly because of really poor managers - I'm talking unequivocally incompetent, bullying, brown-nosing (upwards of course, not to me!), and micro-managing to the point that I was rendered completely pointless. They caused the workplace to be demotivated and even fearful. Career suicide.
The last time I experienced a good atmosphere at work was probably when I worked behind a bar - in 1996 - yet I love what I do.
So, I'd say it is not your fault; good managers are VERY rare, and we know from research that management is the key to retention. Although I've had some truly talented, visionary managers, they were anomalous.
But do not, as I did, find yourself on the down-escalator of self-esteem, blaming yourself for the failure of organizations (government, private sector AND the charity sector) to fix their problems.
Can you judge at interview? I'd say no. Is it asking too much for a company to be a happy place? Sadly, probably yes. I strongly dispute that it is down to what's inside (@Laura); how do you explain bullying if this is the case? My theory - and it will seem jaded but it's actually just prudent - is that if a vacancy has arisen, consider that it's because the holder didn't want it any more; there could be bad and good reasons for that.
I love Tony's approach. It's audacious, and I've found that interviewers often appreciate this kind of candour; it can turn a rigid interview into a more interesting and informative conversation. That said, I suspect it may be too audacious for those of us not in IT or the most highly sought-after sectors.
Remember too that many people tolerate bad workplaces because they have to - and that means they find coping mechanisms, one of which is to ignore or deny the problem. I've worked abroad, and I've concluded that expedience is at play here. Our housing costs in the UK are so high I sense that many workers just keep their heads down. If flagging up problematic management at a time when many of us are dispensable would risk their job - and ultimately their home - who would do it? I understand it, but I hate it all the same.
As for 'passionate', I am beginning to think this could be part of the problem. I care passionately about my work; I am fastidious, highly motivated, full of ideas, a hard worker - actually, on paper, I'm the ideal employee. So what went wrong? My theory: poor managers are so prolific, these qualities are now redundant. The only quality you really need is the ability to care less, so that you can tolerate the nonsense around you, so that you can eventually switch off and carry out your job as some kind of automaton.
If that's not for you (and um...something tells me it's not), force yourself to be optimistic and take a chance on being your own boss.
I held off going freelance for a long time because a graphic-designer friend of mine told me that when you do, you end up with not one but many (difficult) bosses! But that's the direction I'm heading now. It's not easy, but it's the lesser of two evils, I think. And I'm looking for a graphic designer partner, as it happens...
Liz --- Let me turn this around and ask you a very simple question: What makes you happy?
You don't have to really answer that, but you should know in your mind what it is that makes you happy.
Is it money? Recognition? Growth? Opportunities for continued learning? A stimulating social environment? A company car? International travel? On-site day care? Five weeks of annual vacation? A 35 hour work week? An expense account? A 9-5 work day? Bonuses? Free coffee? Recognition by clients?
The list goes on and on. But, honestly, until you can know in your own mind what it is that makes you happy, how will you know you found the right job?
(I've worked for a number of large Fortune 500 firms and have been well remunerated. But of all the jobs I've had, the best of all was a season I worked as a ski patroller. Yes, a ski bum! The pay was crap, but the job satisfaction was second-to-none because my patients were always appreciative of my work.)
Sad to see that you've never experienced at "Happy" work environment and would have guessed that in particular when choosing the kind of education you've taken and working in a creative/artistic environment as you do that you would feel joy and pride in what you are doing and that this would create a feeling of happiness that would be contagious to both yourself and the people in your work environment.
My experience is that there will always be an element competitiveness in any environment where people are involved and it's mostly a positive thing which drive our creativity and develop our skills towards excellence in whatever we do.
In job interviews I always listen for the candidates requirements and expectations to the work environment as well as their volunteering to contribute to the work and business environment because it tells me a lot about the person and how the person interact with others in making the business go and achieving our goals.
Try to describe to yourself how a happy, fulfilling and rewarding work environment would look like and then think of which indicators would reveal that these conditions are in place in a company and then when interviewing try to uncover if these indicatores are present, if not then don't take the job.
Hope this helps and best whishes in finding what you are looking for :-)
I am going to answer this from the perspective of my direct interpretation of your question: Before starting working there.
I have usually gotten a "vibe" from the people I have the interview with, but I must say, sometimes, they are well versed to create the correct vibe during interviews, so I do not always go that route.
I think your best bet would be to see if you can ask an HR lady about the staff turn-over at the company. If it is high, then there is signs of problems of some kind. This may not be easy to do though.
Something else I have done as well, although not easy either, as you might not have access to this information, but with Social Media nowadays being what it is, it should not be impossible to find a few people who work there, and strike up a brief conversation with them. I started one conversation like this: "Hey! I see you work at XYZ. I have always dreamed of working at a big development company, so I applied to work at the same one you are! How is the experience?"
The response was astonishing. Let's just say a lot of bleep words were said, and I knew it was not the fit for me. While I do agree that one person's opinion does not really mean that the company is rotten, but it gives me some indication.
In short: research before you go for the interview, and even more research before you accept the position.
Hope this helps!
Before joining study about the company environment by the help of their web,and discussion of their employee on social web and read comments of their x-employee on the different groups,...
A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.
"What sort of people live in the next town?" asked the stranger.
"What were the people like where you've come from?" replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.
"They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I'm happy to be leaving the scoundrels."
"Is that so?" replied the old farmer. "Well, I'm afraid that you'll find the same sort in the next town.
Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.
Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. "What sort of people live in the next town?" he asked.
"What were the people like where you've come from?" replied the farmer once again.
"They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I'm sorry to be leaving them."
"Fear not," said the farmer. "You'll find the same sort in the next town."
Liz, the lens you're looking through is shaping the experience you're having. And when you commit to living FROM happiness (rather than waiting on your environment to supply it), you will shift out of being a prisoner of circumstances to a powerful creator of any world you choose to have. It's incredible.
Happiness is a choice, not something that 'happens' to you. It's not a external force, from without. It is yours if you choose it. Be happy. Make a happy workplace.
@Liz I've worked for a number of companies over the course of my career. Fewer than 20% were what I would consider a positive work environment where you're encouraged to think, add value and ask questions without concern for retribution.
I picked the following up along the way. Adapt for what's most important to you.
Five questions that reveal a toxic company culture:
1. What one thing would you change about the company and why?
2. How did this position become available?
3. How do you reward success? Small successes? Large successes?
4. How do teams and individuals work with each other and how does information flow through the organization?
5. May I please chat with a few team members?
You can never find a perfect job or a perfectly happy place- you need to contribute , be recognized and find your own happiness at the workplace. The organization can do only so much to create the right ambience to work but maintaining that ambience is to a large extent dependent on the people.So find your own happiness too, by being creative, committed,cooperative and pro- active
The work environment is important not only to employee happiness, but also to increased productivity. I agree with Tony, that you can ask the interviewer(s) what is like to work there or what they like about working there. and watch their reactions. Another concern for me is that you say you have "never" had nice co-workers or even engaging managers. With that being said, I would like to offer that you check yourself -- what types of vibes or nonverbal cues are you sending out? You are the common denominator at all of your previous jobs. It might be harsh to think about yourself that way. Contact me, I will give you some exercises that will help you identify what the underlying issue is that is preventing you from experiencing workplace happiness. Just send me a private email.
I think that it depends. People make changes. First of all if you are the responsible of a business you are also, by default, the responsible of make a great atmosphere.
It is demonstrated that creative environments have more earnings in all kind of aspects. Not only in money (nowadays, not a small thing).
You can have better work relationships and increase of creativity, giving to the business, the innovation that needs.