Marc Hedlund's Blog

How to Be Happy at Work

  1. Work with people you like and respect who think much like you do. Disagreements are okay and can be productive, but I’ve had a better time working with people where we largely agree on the basics.
  2. At the end of each day, write the people who gave you more time than usual that day and helped you as a result, and thank them for it. It’s a small thing, but it signals the right thing about other people’s time and yours. Time is valuable and you should pay for it with respect and gratitude.
  3. Follow this advice. Go find people in your company you think are awesome and ask them, “How can I help you?” Focus on the happiness of people around you and you will be happier than if you focus on your own happiness. Be very generous with your time for the people you like.
  4. Be willing to ask anyone for help, respectfully. Make a short, clear, reasonable request and send it to anyone on the Internet who might be able to directly help you. Many of them will say no or not respond, but a surprising number will say yes.
  5. Learn how to say “no” and say it a lot. Be respectful, be considerate. But say no to things that are going to make it harder for you to do your job or lead your life.
  6. Wait until you know what needs doing, then do it all the way, right away. Don’t dilly-dally and don’t be wishy-washy.
  7. If you are a leader, listen closely for ideas from the people you work with, and shine a bright light on the best ideas. Give people a chance, give them your authority, give them a problem to solve and the power to solve it. Let them step up and surprise you. If you are not yet a leader, offer your ideas freely and often, and don’t be discouraged if you hear ‘no’ a lot. Push for what you think is right and when given a shot to make it right, make the most of that shot.
  8. Lead a full and happy life outside of work, and never neglect it. You will be happier at work if you are happier in life. Go do that most of all.