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Julie Palmer

Although the responsibility falls heavily on the employer to practice and implement employee engagement 

strategies it is ultimately the employee's responsibility to be happy and engage. We spend nearly a third of our lives working. Undoubtedly we want to be happy at work! After consulting a dozen or more of my corporate friends asking "what does it" for them, I believe I have some answers. I have narrowed down the top 5 Tips for finding happiness at work and 1 tip for change in the event none of these tips work! 

1. Don't Be Passive. The worst thing you can do is sit around waiting for something to happen. Be proactive and make things happen rather than complaining that nothing gets done. If it is your boss you are waiting on, maybe her plate is full or she simply forgot. Pop into her office and say, "Hey is there something I can do to help you get that approval pushed through?". Likely you will spark her memory and also win brownie points for offering a helping hand. 

2. Ask. If you have a question about something, rather than wonder, just ask. Curious to know if you are doing a good job but your boss isn't the kind of guy to hand out kudos? Go to him. What can it hurt? As long as you are in his office let him know that you are motivated by affirmative words. If your boss is smart he will tune into your needs and connect your hard work to his compliments. Want to know how to get a promotion? Ask. How are you ever going to move up in your company if you don't know what it takes? 

3. Set Boundaries From the Start. Sure, staying late to get an important project done is great; however, if you set the example that you come in early and work late every day just to look good you are eventually going to burn out. Work-life balance is critical for happiness but will be hard to achieve if you don't set work boundaries from the start. Your boss will continue to increase your workload to fill those 10 hour work days until it is nearly impossible to put it in reverse and head out of the office at 5. 

4. Avoid Negativity. Other people's negativity can be contagious. Just when you thought you were perfectly happy in your job someone comes along and shares their point of view- and it isn't a good one. Their view is completely skewed due to their specific situation. Heck, they may be having marital problems at home so when they come to work they can't see anything positive. You can listen to your co-worker, because that is what friends do, but make your own objective judgments about your work scene. 

5. Align Your Values. Not only should your career reflect what you are passionate about, your company's values should align with yours as well. If you are progressive in your work style but your company operates like it is still 1980 you don't share the same values. If you have your most creative ideas on your afternoon run but work frowns upon taking time out for exercise, you can't be your best. 

6. When All Else Fails. Sometimes you are simply in the wrong job. It could be in the wrong position within your company or it could be the whole sha'bang. As the employee, you are ultimately responsible for your own happiness, and it is important to recognize when a change is needed. The unemployment rate is down. It is a good time to test the waters. Update your LinkedIn profile and sign up on a few job search engines. Your dream job may be waiting for you.