How to Love Your Job (Even If You Secretly Hate It)

You'd leave if you could...but there's nothing else in sight. So turn your job-from-hell into a happier situation with these tips.

1. Improve Your Workspace

Photos and plants can work wonders, but there's an even better way to infuse new life into a work area. "Get control of clutter," advises Jeffrey McGrew, co-owner of sustainable interior-design firm Because We Can. "Clear off the junk from your desk and you'll feel less stressed." Next, make sure your job doesn't literally make you sick, by avoiding ailments like carpal-tunnel syndrome. Position your computer monitor a couple feet away at eye level, make sure there's no glare, and sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.

2. Talk Amongst Yourselves

Being social not only makes life more pleasant, but it also can improve your work profile, says Myra White, PhD, author of Follow the Yellow Brick Road. "When you build relationships with your bosses," she explains, "it allows you to highlight your achievements without grandstanding." And don't overlook more junior employees and interns - mentoring feels good and also may pay off down the line when they grow up and start hiring their own staffs. Here's what to do when you want to boost morale fast.

3. Maximize Your Downtime

Step away from the computer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking a break from your screen every half an hour to prevent repetitive motion disorder and eyestrain. And you should never eat at your desk, says Joanna Penn, author of How to Enjoy Your Job. "You'll feel there's no boundary between your private and professional lives." Bring food from home - it can be cheaper and healthier - and, if possible, eat outside; according to the National Institute of Mental Health, sunlight can sometimes help fight depression. Add these simple activities to your routine so you won't have to live for the weekends anymore.

4. Cross-train

If you're bored stiff with your daily tasks, ask for more. Seriously. When you hear of projects you wish you were working on, tell your boss you'd love to join in - even if it means taking on extra work. If you lack the skills for those kinds of assignments, develop them. It could be as simple as asking to be taught. "People aren't getting raises, so managers are looking for other ways to reward high performers," says Penelope Trunk, author of The Brazen Careerist. "Ask for training and you may very well get it." Best of all, any new skills you learn will put you in a much better position to score that next job when the recession eventually ends. Jumpstart your new "Get a Job Plan" with these smart how-to videos.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.