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  • By Steve McNally

Maintaining a Healthy Attitude at Work …utilizing the “H” factor…


Every work environment can be taxing on your patience, stamina, and emotions during your working years. The intensity of the challenge can vary with your age, career aspirations, time on the job, and complexity of your chosen career path. It doesn’t really matter whether you chose your job, it found you, or you just ended up there via lack of personal talent assessment. We face personnel shortages, changing job descriptions, relational challenges, salary discrepancies, disciplinary problems, “org chart” changes, downsizing, market swings, etc. -- you get it.

Surviving situational job stress and managing your responses to that stress with integrity is critical to your spiritual, emotional, and physical health. But I think I’ve found five easily memorized perspectives that all begin with the letter “H." I call them the “H” factors, and I hope you’ll find them helpful.

Getting proficient at using these perspectives can make the difference between you merely surviving with the help of Prozac, Xanax, antacids, or NSAID’S (ibuprofen), and just wanting it all to end, or actually living well and making a positive difference in the work place. Let’s take a deeper look at staying happy, helpful, humble, hungry, and hopeful and how these interconnected attitudes can change the complexion of your everyday job impact.

The first H-factor perspective is HAPPY. No one likes to work with a sourpuss. If you come to work grumpy and stay that way throughout the day, I guarantee that everyone else knows and wants to stay away from you. Your boss has noticed and is taking mental notes. If people say “good morning” to you and you are saying (or thinking) “what’s so good about it?”, then you need to quickly change before you ruin your career or lose your job. You need an “attitude adjustment,” a change in perspective. People wonder why you keep coming to work if you are so down in the mouth and forlorn…you probably wonder that, too!

It’s time for a mental and spiritual tune up. Displaying happiness (not necessarily feeling it yet) is a personal choice. It can be obtained by various means, but the easiest way may be to just change your focus. If you are continually focusing on your lack of promotion, the incompetent “bums” you work with, the long commute, restrictive dress code requirements, long hours, and your oppressive schedule, then you need to get real and rediscover something to be happy about. Not back slapping, giggly, boisterous, loud, obnoxious outward behavior, but an inner decision to focus on right, true, and positive attributes of your job. You know, “count your blessings.”

Cheer up. If you woke up this morning with somewhere to go and clothes to put on, then you have something to be happy about. Find the small things at work that make your job unique, like travel, a room with a view, air conditioning, a break room with power circles (aka…doughnuts), flexible hours, kindhearted leadership, a chance to be creative, a retirement package, medical benefits, company vehicle, and so on. Make a list. You can do it!

I remember feeling bad about my job and just generally being down and wanting to quit. One day as I drove, I pulled over to the side of the road and stared out at an extremely picturesque pastoral scene with trees, gentle green hills, and horses. I thought to myself, “Wow, I can’t believe how beautiful this is, and it is part of my job description to be out here.” I sat in my vehicle, poured some coffee, and just stared out at the countryside for a while. It was beautiful and peaceful, and my angst about work seemed to fade in the beauty of the moment. I captured that moment emotionally and tried to stay in that zone. Most of the time we take ourselves and our situations way too seriously. Just ease off on the “poor me” or “revenge” pedal. Your blood will stop boiling, and you can take that steam coming out of your ears and direct that energy toward accomplishment.

Have you ever tried to say something pleasant or complimentary to someone who always rubs you the wrong way? Usually, they will smile back at you (probably secretly wondering what’s wrong with you…!) and that in turn will make you smile. Happiness can be contagious and may have a strong connection to contentment. If you need career-path direction, then get some guidance from a trusted source. Move in the direction of your goals. For heaven’s sake, don’t be that person that is a “Debbie downer,” who is dragging everyone into the pit of your general dissatisfaction just because you feel stuck in a job or career that you despise.

Remember, before you had this job, you either didn’t have a job or you chose to change to this one. Sometimes you just get stuck in a rut of awful moods and negative thoughts and you can’t even remember why you are now unhappy. Let’s end this first discussion on a quote from Confucius, “Confucius say … smile is like tight underwear… it makes your cheeks go up.” Are you smiling yet …?

For your study today, take a minute and look up the following Scripture references for study, development, and pursuit of relational excellence. Let the Lord guide you today.

Serving Him,

Steve McNally, guest PTLB blogger

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