There’s more that goes into your job than simply showing up and completing tasks. The place you spend 40+ hours of your week can be a source of consistent excitement and energy… or it could stand for a little improvement.

See what 1,000 IT pros said about their workplace

Whether you’re currently satisfied or if your work experience could use a little love, not to worrythere are several ways to help you fall head over heels for your job.

Expand your certifications

Expanding your professional certifications is a great way to clearly show your expertise, especially at a new position where people might not be familiar with your skillset. Also, working together with other coworkers to get certifications is a great way to build comradery and make the process more enjoyable. It’s always easier to cram for exams with a study buddy.

One popular certification in particular to have is your CCNA. Check out our post on How to Become a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

Switch teams

Pulling together as a team to accomplish a common goal is a fantastic way to get to know your coworkers and move the business forward. Rotating through different teams on various projects will also help you learn the strengths of each person and understand other perspectives on the business. Also, rewarding your team’s success at the end of a project with a party or other incentive is a great way to make these projects even better!

Make your space your own

Not everyone has the luxury of working in a space with rock climbing walls, go-karts, and roller coasters (except for these rare companies, that is). Many workplaces still employ cubicles, which can feel suffocating if you leave them bare. Try decorating your space with things that make you happy: colorful pictures of your favorite bands, framed photos of loved ones, or even some potted plants can all make your space feel more positive.

Make work friends

Extend an olive branch to the people at your work. Do it. It can feel a little bit like being in kindergarten and asking someone point-blank if they’d like to be your friend, but who cares? Your work can be more enjoyable if you have someone to chat with by the coffee pot or go to a Thursday happy hour with. One trick to do this? Find some common ground. If you notice the person in the cubicle next to you also has a poster of Iron Maiden, reach out.

Attend conferences

Attending conferences either as an exhibitor or participant can enhance your career significantly. Participating in conferences offers multiple opportunities to network, build new skills quickly, and bring valuable knowledge back to your coworkers. Exhibiting at conferences gives you the opportunity to be the face of your organization and do substantial business development in a short amount of time. You’d be surprised how often managers will say yes if you ask to go to a conferencethey might even offer to pay most or all of the cost if it benefits the business.

Own your work

By this, we mean not waiting for job duties that you enjoy to fall on your lap. Seek them out. Ask your supervisor for opportunities to do more of what you’re really passionate about. This could mean picking up a totally separate side project or simply taking on some additional responsibilities in your normal role. Either way, it can really help you take control of your situation at work and make you feel more empowered in your career. In that same vein, you can also offer assistance in the areas coworkers are feeling overwhelmed in. The extra help you bring will be very appreciated.

Participate in work culture

If your workplace generously offers perks like free lunches, happy hours, or post-work events, making an effort to go could be your ticket to a more fulfilling work life. Engaging yourself in the office culture allows you to be a part of the team in more than a professional sense. Attending events and loosening up your tie, so to speak, has a way of making work feel a lot less like, well, work. Even if it’s just for a couple hours. 

Listen to podcasts and read ebooks

Investing time to grow your personal and professional skills is never time poorly spent. Staying curious and making an effort to learn more about your industry and role is a surefire way to stay alert and engaged at work. A few popular IT podcasts include:

As for ebooks, if you’re looking for a free, comprehensive guide to the state of the IT industry, download our free ebook.

Participate in forums on LinkedIn or Reddit

Additionally, joining forums with other like-minded individuals can be a great resource for education and support. Whether you need someone to commiserate with, share a big win, or ask for advice, find a safe space where you can share and receive thoughts and opinions about your industry. This can help you feel like part of a tight-knit community, which in turn can instill a new appreciation for the work you do. 

Even on your toughest days on the job, if you love what you do, it won’t feel (too much) like work. Try implementing just a few of these tricks, and see how your perception can change.

Related post: 25 Years of Loving Our Jobs