Learning to Love Mondays: Finding a Job That Makes You Happy

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Can you imagine waking up Monday morning, a smile on your face and ready to rock that day – all because your job makes you happy? Well, half of Americans cannot; they are unhappy with their job this study from The Conference Board reveals.

Great… So do we all have a fifty-fifty chance of being happy at work now?

Not really, being happy at your job has nothing to do with chance, it has to do with YOU. It might sound like a cliché but you really are the architect of your own fortune.

In a recent study work place psychologist Dr Jeremy Dean has identified these 10 factors that determine happiness:

  1. Too much repetitive administration can make you unhappy, Dean found.
  2. Do you earn what you think you deserve? If you are unsatisfied with your pay, then you are likely to be unhappy.
  3. Happy employees manage to recognize their achievements.
  4. Regular feedback can significantly enhance the way we feel about our work.
  5. Complex and varied tasks challenge people and make them happier.
  6. How much control you have over your job and how you do it is a deciding factor for feeling well at work.
  7. The way organizational support is perceived (key word: fringe benefits) is important for our sense of self-worth and can boost happiness.
  8. Are you able to separate work life from your social life? Unhappy workers experience an overspill of that all important work-life balance.
  9. According to Dean, the first six months of a new job are the honeymoon period, a psychological phenomenon boosting happiness.
  10. Does your job match your personality and natural talents? If it does, then you are much likely to be satisfied with your job.

Trying to find the perfect job? – Give up now!

In his bestseller Great Work, David Sturt tells us that the perfect job does not exist. In other words, finding a job upon graduation that fulfills all of the above ten factors for happiness is not only highly unlikely- looking for it is a waste of your time! Instead, Sturt recommends to go for a job that offers flexible employment terms and then turning it into something we truly enjoy doing.

Why working in smaller organizations can make you happier

A recent survey has found that employees are more likely to be happy in smaller organizations. This is because they give them a greater sense of freedom and flexibility.

For example, if you are unhappy with all the petty paper work you have to do (see factor #1), then talk to your employer about delegating tasks better. Lower hierarchies in smaller companies also mean that you can expect more direct feedback from managers (see factor #4) and see the impact of your work more immediately (see factor #3).

Being proactive pays off: if new challenges arise, small companies will value your sense of ownership (see factor #5), whereas bigger companies are more reluctant to encourage horizontal movement within their organization.

So if you are deciding whether the big-shot role in a large conglomerate or a less well-paid position in a smaller business is right for you, consider:

  • Where you will have more flexibility and opportunity to do different tasks
  • Where your work is valued more (think of pay, benefits, and feedback)
  • Where you will get the most support

Be clear about what you want and don’t hesitate to address your personal factors for happiness during a job interview! Employers want happy workers and will be impressed to see that you have carefully thought about what you can bring to your new career.

The money problem

Still not sure whether you might just need to get over semi-dreadful employment conditions, but then have a great time spending your oh-so-sweet salary on all those nice, little things that will make you happy?

Career advisor Ben Sands knows that the number one obstacle to happiness is money; Sands explains that “our money problem is not that we don’t have enough money. It’s that we don’t really know what “enough” means.”

So if you are reluctant to take up that internship just because it pays too little, really think hard about how much money is enough for you in your life right now. Having money is great, but (as long as you are able to pay your bills, pay off student debts (yikes…) and treat yourself every so often) being happy at work could be much more important in the beginning of your career.

Whether it is a sense of achievement, the satisfaction to make a change, or a look on your bank account (fair enough!) – make sure you know what gets you out of bed in the morning and count yourself towards the 50% of Americans that love their job!

Happiness lies in your own hands- don’t be afraid to demand it now!

 

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