Grace Balfour-Harle works in children’s publishing and was named a Rising Star in 2019. Here she shares advice and guidance on how to find happiness while working. 

Most people would believe working at the Beano is the happiest job on Earth. There is an intrinsic joy in everything we do in the comic, but it can be hard, like all jobs. Sometimes things get stressful, or you can get behind meaning it can be hard to remain positive about my job all the time. 

When I’ve had a period of being particularly stressed, I need to find a way to reset. I find reconnecting with Beano’s fun mission really helps with that. This can come from an unlikely source – a conversation with someone, a blog post I’m writing, or even just talking about the things I like about my job. Sometimes, I go back through the emails from kids and just seeing their enthusiasm for all things Beano is enough.

Keeping everything in perspective really helps – I have friends who are doctors, nurses or psychologists in the NHS. Hearing about their jobs just reminds me how low stress my job is in comparison. It doesn’t invalidate the stress I’m feeling, but having a sense of perspective aligns with the pragmatist in me and relieves some of the pressure I put on myself.

Work life balance

The key to finding happiness at work is to have things outside of work that bring you joy. For me, it’s dance and physical exercise (which I don’t do enough of). I rediscovered yoga in lockdown after stopping it in my teens, and it has totally revolutionised my way of thinking. Being kind to myself for just showing up and trying is a freeing feeling and allows me to just enjoy without a sense of pressure to progress quickly.

Having some sort of creative outlet outside of work always helps me within work. I joined a Zoom choir, took part in my work book club, and taught a dance class to name a few creative endeavours. I also made myself spend time outside every day in some way – which is incredibly beneficial to your mental well-being, especially when working from home.

Finding my confidence

One of the best things that keeps me happy at work is facing a new challenge – and that can often come through training. Last year, The Printing Charity awarded me a Rising Star Award and it kickstarted my personal development plan. I got to attend courses that I had always wanted to attend, meet people and gain some fantastic knowledge. But the most important thing the award gave me was confidence. Confidence to ask about things, to speak up when I know an answer, and to also believe that I am worth investing in, instead of listing all the reasons I was not. 

As a result of that confidence boost from The Printing Charity, I applied to be on the committee for the Society of Young Publishers Scotland, and this year, I am now one of the Co-Chairs – which is a brand new challenge in itself. So, as part of World Gratitude Day, thank you again to The Printing Charity for their support over the last couple of years – it has been invaluable. 

Know when to seek support

Happiness in work is a tough thing to get right, because most jobs by their nature can be stressful, and stress and happiness don’t tend to go together. I think being passionate about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and reconnecting with the spark that first drew you to that industry will help ignite your happy feeling about work. However, if you are consistently finding that difficult, or feel that you’re unable to feel excited about what you’re doing – don’t be afraid to seek support. Your happiness and personal wellbeing is the most important in your life, far beyond your job – never forget that.