Summer may not be over until another couple of weeks, but with the Labor Day holiday in the United States behind us, now is the time many of us turn our attention from the relaxing and slower pace of the summer season to the more structured and focused time of when our children go back to school and we go back to rolling up our sleeves at work.

Our jobs and careers can be both a great place for personal satisfaction and accomplishment as well as frustration and disappointment. During the work week, we spend more time at our jobs, on average, than we do with our families. So, the question becomes how we can increase our happiness at work.

To understand what can make your happier at work, it’s first important to understand the three primary causes of job unhappiness, or dissatisfaction. Typically, the following are the three leading candidates:

1.) A supervisor who doesn't take your suggestions seriously

2.) A subordinate who constantly undermines your authority

3.) Meetings that, instead of serving as idea sounding boards and productivity drivers, usually become venting sessions

We sometimes see such persons or scenarios as roadblocks to success. These become obstacles which prevent us from carrying out our personal career goals and subsequently, contribute to our dissatisfaction in very significant ways. We assign blame to every aspect of our workplace existence that proves difficult.

And in doing so, we allow such people and situations to have power over us. We give them the upper hand, relinquish our personal power and find ourselves sinking deeper into the pit of unhappiness. We feel defeated by these forces which seem as though everything is beyond our control.

The secret is to realize that you can change. Even though you can't change other people, you can change yourself and how you react and respond to the circumstances you encounter. It all starts with you and your determination to do so. In changing yourself, you change the way people react to you. You can learn to change behavior... your own, and other’s.

In other words, change your approach, which in turn changes the way people respond to you. When you get good at it, you'll find that the effects of your new attitude and behavior will begin to change situations - but it happens very gradually, and takes a great deal of practice and effort.

Also, keep in mind that if you can not tolerate or accept the conditions at your job, you are a person of choice and you can change your situation. This may be a freighting prospect for some, but it may be the key to give you a sense of power and liberation. People change jobs and careers every day. It doesn’t mean they have failed or were unsuccessful; it just means they sought something better for themselves.

At the end of the day, you don’t take your supervisor or subordinates home with you. These people don’t decide what’s best for you nor do they love and support you unconditionally. Try to adopt the attitude of working to live, instead of living to work. With this attitude, comes great power and happiness.

Next: Finding Happiness at Work, part 2

Author's Bio: 

Alex Blackwell is the author of The Next 45 Years - a website dedicated to sharing and creating happiness, life balance and success for the rest of our lives. To read more inspirational stories and articles, please visit: