In The Workplace

I’ve been in this job for more than five years without a promotion but have received an average of 4% in merit increases each year. Three days ago, my boss asked me if I’m enjoying my job. I said “yes,” and he smiled. Is he serious? What’s going on? — Blue Sky.

Don’t be fooled. The boss’s smile can mean many things. It could be a rictus or a fake smile that does not translate to genuine delight, but a horrified, involuntary grin that we see from like, an embarrassed stage actor who forgets his lines while performing. If that’s the case, then start worrying about your future in that organization.

Understand that having a good time at work and enjoying an annual pay increase are two different things. They are always a welcome development. Enjoying a job means you’re taking pride in what you’re doing even if there are occasional bad times, which are unavoidable.

This is best seen when you look forward to each day with genuine optimism and enthusiasm despite the rigors of daily commuting. A good sign of contentment is when you’re considered a candidate for a perfect attendance award, though there may have been some lapses due to circumstances beyond your control.

For some workers, having a good time means performing the minimum requirements of the job while spending much time doing unproductive things, engaging in office gossip or updating social media accounts during work hours. On the other hand, there are high achievers who are not happy doing the bare minimum, knowing that this does not serve their long-term career aspirations.

So, which do you think is better? Having a good time doing the minimum requirements or exceeding expectations? At the end of each day, you’ll find out that doing the average thing is not sustainable. Sooner than later, your boss will make a decision that will make or break your career, and ultimately, your job security.

The basis of everything will be work performance. Therefore, if you’re enjoying your job for the wrong reasons, then think again. Repent right away. There are hundreds of solutions that you can consider. I’m listing here some of the most basic and practical approaches you can take right away:

One, have a reasonable performance plan and target. It must be consistent with your job description and performance standards agreed with the boss. Know your job well. Do it better than your colleagues. If necessary, or if you’re confused, better that you discuss things with your boss, who should be glad to assist you.

Two, create and showcase your big accomplishments. The best way to do this is by stepping outside of your work routine. Think of ways to become productive, cut costs, or be efficient all the time. Stop being a non-value proposition in your organization. If you’re successful, your reward or recognition will come in due time.

Three, volunteer for challenging assignments. That’s assuming you have the spare time to do them all. Before raising your hand, ask the following questions: Would this job make my image acceptable to all? Is this a dirty, demeaning, or difficult job that no one wants to do? Am I genuinely looking for acceptance? How will others look if I do the job?

Four, acquire a unique skill that others don’t have. How about becoming a technology wizard in ways that make your job easy? How about analyzing the future of your industry? Could you interpret the business pages and determine how your company will be affected? You should know what’s missing in your company — that’s where you enter the picture.

Five, show 100% commitment. That means working a lot harder, if not smarter than the rest of your team members. Don’t lose sight of your long-term goals, even for a second. If you’re fully committed, you’ll avoid personal downtime, mistakes, or deviation from your plan.

If you’re not enjoying your work, then that’s self-flagellation. If you’re not happy, then there’s no point in staying a minute longer in your job. You don’t have to be perpetually miserable trying to outdo other moaners. Conversely, if you’re happy because you’re getting paid for mediocre work, then that’s a shame.

Whatever the circumstances are, the ideal approach is to become happy with your work and make sure your boss and other people agree to that. Once you acknowledge that work is fun, you’ll find every step lighter. Having a good time at work and enjoying the pay is the ideal to shoot for in every workplace.

It means taking pride in what you do every step of the way.


Bring Rey Elbo’s “Kaizen Blitz Workshop” to your organization and discover how to solve problems with low-cost, practical solutions. Contact him on Facebook, LinkedIn, X or e-mail or via