October 2, 2008 / 4:58 AM / 10 years ago

Learn to love your job, the "Dr. Happy" way

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Hate your job? At The Happiness Institute, you can learn to love what you do.

Psychologist Timothy Sharp, chief “happiness officer” at the Australia-based institute (www.thehappinessinstitute.com), teaches people how to get the most out of their work as well as helping organizations retain valued employees.

“We teach people to create an environment that people want to be a part of and also creating an environment where people can function at their best,” Sharp told Reuters.

“In some organizations, it takes a one-off, one-hour lecture, but we’ve also worked with organizations for six, eight months.”

Sharp, dubbed “Dr. Happy,” says happiness at work is more than just having a good time — it’s about encouraging employees to take responsibility for their attitude and utilizing their strengths.

“Regardless of whether we have a title or not, we can have an impact over our happiness and we can also impact people around us,” he said. “There is no such thing as a perfect job.”

“Although they can create the right conditions, an employer can’t force an individual to think in a certain way.”

Low unemployment in Australia has seen a trend in companies engaging organizations such as The Happiness Institute to help them attract, and keep, skilled employees.

The current turmoil in the global financial markets has also driven more companies to seek advice.

“People are asking how can we cope with this as positively as we can,” said Sharp. “Organizations are saying ‘we want our people to feel optimistic that we can get through this.’”

For the majority of people who tend to stay in jobs they don’t like because they offer security, Sharp advises employees to focus on the positive and make an effort to enjoy it.

And for those who tend to job-hop, hoping to find the right mix of happiness and satisfaction, Sharp says its usually easier to improve your current situation than jump ship.

He advises improving communication with colleagues, taking holidays and trying to fix situations or tasks, rather than complaining about them.

“But if you’ve done everything you can and it’s still not satisfactory then explore your options. That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do,” he added.

Reporting by Pauline Askin, Editing by Miral Fahmy

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