Should you follow your passion?
It may not be that easy unless we can all be athletes and artists:
In fact, less than 4 percent of the total identified passions had any relation to work or education, with the remaining 96 percent describing hobby-style interests such as sports and art.
Chase money? Income doesn’t affect job satisfaction at all and job satisfaction affects income more than you might think. Happiness is only about what you earn when you get paid by the hour.
And money isn’t everything. There’s also sleep.
What topped the list of the most sleep-deprived professions?
- Home health aides
- Police officers
So what should you do? Let’s look at the big picture.
Job satisfaction is key because work is often a bigger source of happiness than home, ironically. Enjoying our jobs has a great deal to do with how much control we feel we have and whether we’re doing things we’re good at. Social factors are huge too.
Happy feelings are associated with “the fulfillment of psychological needs: learning, autonomy, using one’s skills, respect, and the ability to count on others in an emergency.”
What do we know about the happiest and unhappiest jobs?
It’s interesting to compare these jobs with the list of the ten most hated jobs, which were generally much better paying and have higher social status. What’s striking about the list is that these relatively high level people are imprisoned in hierarchical bureaucracies. They see little point in what they are doing. The organizations they work for don’t know where they are going, and as a result, neither do these people.
What makes for a satisfying job?
…the strongest determinants of job satisfaction are relations with colleagues and supervisors, task diversity and job security.
Using your “signature strengths” — those qualities you are uniquely best at, the talents that set you apart from others — makes you stress less:
The more hours per day Americans get to use their strengths to do what they do best, the less likely they are to report experiencing worry, stress, anger, sadness, or physical pain…
You want to experience “flow”. It’s when you’re so wrapped up in what you’re doing that the world fades away.
There are a handful of things that need to be present for you to experience flow:
- Clear goals that, while challenging, are still attainable.
- Immediate feedback.
- Knowing that the task is doable; a balance between personal skill level and the challenge presented.
- Strong concentration and focused attention.
- The activity is intrinsically rewarding.
And you want to be someplace where you’re treated like a partner — not an underling.
Learning something new and interesting daily is an important psychological need and one of the most prevalent attributes that people in communities with high wellbeing have in common. A key element in work environment wellbeing, being treated as a partner rather than as an underling lays a foundation for higher employee engagement and productivity, as well as better emotional and physical health.
Any specific jobs to avoid? Lawyers are miserable.
Martin Seligman, psychology professor at UPenn and author of Authentic Happiness, clues us in as to just how unhappy lawyers are:
Researchers at John Hopkins University found statistically significant elevations of major depressive disorder in only 3 of 104 occupations surveyed. When adjusted for sociodemographics, lawyers topped the list, suffering from depression at a rate of 3.6 times higher than employed persons generally. Lawyers also suffer from alcoholism and illegal drug use at rates far higher than non-lawyers. The divorce rate among lawyers, especially women, also appears to be higher than the divorce rate among other professionals. Thus, by any measure, lawyers embody the paradox of money losing its hold. They are the best-paid professionals, and yet they are disproportionately unhappy and unhealthy. And lawyers know it; many are retiring early or leaving the profession altogether.
Job satisfaction isn’t just about your job. Try to make yourself happier: overall happiness causes job satisfaction more than job satisfaction causes overall happiness.
And unless you’re really desperate, you might want to think twice about settling. People with no job are happier than people with a lousy job.
American workers who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace — known as “actively disengaged” workers — rate their lives more poorly than do those who are unemployed. Forty-two percent of actively disengaged workers are thriving in their lives, compared with 48% of the unemployed. At the other end of the spectrum are “engaged” employees — American workers who are involved in and enthusiastic about their work — 71% of whom are thriving.
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