Why Being Happy in Your Job is Even More Important Than You Think

Aug 04, 2014 - Joe Matar
When you wake up in the morning, do you feel fairly energetic and ready to start your day? Or do you dread the prospect of getting out of bed and facing another workday? If it’s the latter, hear this: Life is too short to spend at a job that doesn’t make you smile, challenge your intellect or offer opportunities for both personal and professional growth. (Click here to tweet this quote.) Unfortunately, many of us were raised to believe that work isn’t supposed to be enjoyable — in fact, you may have heard the line, “It’s called work for a reason!” once or twice. As a result, there’s a vast portion of professionals who find themselves trudging through the day, desperately waiting for the clock to strike 5 p.m. Eight hours a day may seem minimal, but consider this: Within your lifetime, you’ll spend roughly 90,000 hours at work. Even worse? For a growing segment of the workforce, there’s no longer such a thing as a division between home and work. These two formerly segmented sections of life are blending together, allowing for one to bleed into the other, for better or worse. As a result, when you’re in a poor professional situation, it doesn’t take long for you to start hating life. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a positive work experience can increase your overall happiness significantly. Here are three direct benefits of a positive employment situation — and they’re all awesome.

1. Improved health

People under a lot of stress suffer from a multitude of side effects ranging from body pain and difficulty sleeping to more severe side effects such as social withdrawal and drug abuse. Furthermore, being in an unhappy work situation can even affect one’s appearance. Research shows that 50 percent of Americans have gained weight at their current job — in fact, a whopping 13 percent gained over 20 pounds. On the flip side, a happy work scenario can help you skip out on the headaches, fatigue, binge eating, irritability and stomach ulcers. According to researchers at Aon Hewitt, “Employees who perceive their organizations as having a strong culture of health are happier, less stressed and more likely to take control of their well-being than employees in other organizations.”

2. Happier relationships

When you’re spending your workday feeling imprisoned, unhappy and unfulfilled, it can carry over into your personal life — particularly if you’re keen on venting your workplace frustrations on friends and loved ones. Nobody wants to spend time with a curmudgeon, whereas happy people naturally attract others to them. When you’re happy with your life, others will take notice!

3. Increased productivity

This one is a big perk for employees and employers alike. When you’re feeling good, you’re able to focus and actually accomplish work, which in turn fuels continued success. In fact, research shows that happy employees have 31 percent higher productivity, have three times higher sales and perform 20 percent better than their unhappy counterparts! It goes without saying that when you’re doing your best at work, things like promotions and raises will come even more easily. Perhaps you’re already familiar with the many reasons finding career happiness is vital, but are just not convinced that you have the skills to go out and snag your dream job. Nonsense! For many people, the biggest roadblock between them and their dream job is their mindset. Learn to adopt a positive mindset and adapt your habits accordingly. Worried your background isn’t up to par? Check out tips from people who transitioned into a job they love — without related work experience or education. Now’s the time to take inventory of your job happiness. If you’re feeling good, rock on. But if you’re feeling trapped or find that your job is sucking the life out of you, it’s time to get inspired and change it up. Finding a job you love may require a bit of legwork, but the return on investment is well worth it. Dr. Kerry Schofield heads up the U.K. component of Good.Co’s science team and is one of the key designers of the psychometric model. Kerry graduated from the University of Oxford in 2003 with a degree in experimental psychology, followed by an MSc in research and statistics and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology.