In my teens having a job was really about surviving city life – and being able to afford a ridiculous party addiction. In my early twenties it was about exploring industries, figuring out my passions, trial and error. Now that I’m in my – gulp – mid twenties, it’s all about ‘Am I going to be happy here?’.

Because what is the point of renting out 80% of your life to a place that you have panic attacks about attending every single day?

After all, being a stay-at-home-whatever isn’t a luxury for the middle class anymore.

Yuck, I know.

So what if you’re not happy in your workplace, and as much as you’d like to be dramatic and resign tomorrow, you can’t leave?

This is what you do.

1 // create a game plan

If quitting by the end of today is off the table, unfortunately – and I do hate saying this because these exact words are what my mother told me, and swallowing them was like downing a shot of car battery fluid mixed with razor blades and salt – you have to change how you feel about your workplace.

What worked like a charm for me was producing a game plan. A simple month-by-month type of game plan.

For instance, this month make a project to crush your previous monthly sales history or to arrive at work 10 minutes earlier than your start time. Next month try up-skilling your product knowledge or make an effort to learn more about another colleague you’re not that close to yet.

It is a known fact that if you have more purpose for something, you’re more likely to create more feelings of engagement and enjoyment.

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2 // design a happy work space

Those who sit at a desk, I don’t know what’s up with you shifty folks but you never seem to do anything with your space. Where’s the photos, the magazines, the organised mess, the personality, the arrangement, where’s the soul of you?

We do better when we’re surrounded by colours, visuals or objects that inspire us. It’s a security thing. If you surround yourself with things that make you feel more comfortable, work becomes easier, you feel safer, more open, more cheerful.

Embellish your desk with colour, photos, quotes and glitter. Sprinkle you, all around the office. Get chummy with those colleagues who look like they’re good people to hang around with.

3 // make friends

When Scott had been working at his gym for a few months, I got really envious of the friendships he was building there. I loved being a Nanny, but I yearned to socialize, crack jokes, act stupid and chit-chat with adults again. I missed being part of a team.

Making friendships is one of the most important things about creating a happy workplace environment. You bond over menial stuff that only you really understand, you band together when shit gets interesting (A.K.A soul-destroying). Sometimes, the work-friendship crosses over into life-friendship. You never know what could happen!

You automatically gravitate towards the people who match you in personality. Get to know those people. After all, you do spend almost every day with them. They’ll make it worth your while.

4 // spice up your lunch breaks

Are you guilty of doing the same thing every lunch break? Are you eating the same food as yesterday, txting your BFF complaining about your day or sitting in the exact same spot?

That was me several years ago. Meatball sub, cosmo magazine and the cold, damp staff room that would make your hair raise on the back of your neck every time a breeze floated by. Blegh.

Changing up your lunch breaks instantly gives you more zest to make it through the rest of your day.

For one whole week, try doing something different when you have your lunch break each day. Go for a walk, sit outside in the sun, go shopping, visit an art gallery, have a lunch date, go swimming, have lunch with a colleague, check a book out at the library or have a nap!

5 // avoid them haters

Haters gonna hate. No matter where you go, there will always be a parade of negative people taunting you to join the dark side.

They could be complaining about the boss one moment and the next they’re bitching about you behind your back. Avoid them like the plague. Otherwise, that happiness you crave so much to have at your workplace, is never going to exist.

Bottom line: Stay away from gossip and unhappy people – and if you’re one of them, fight for your happiness every. single. day.