Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Choose a Job to Make Yourself Content

We work a lot. Too much, probably. One often muses, when will the post-scarcity world come into being? In the mean time, people should pursue a work life that is rewarding. But wow? 

One approach to to purse "earned success," which gives someone a sense of accomplishment (see Seligman, whose studies show this strongly predict happiness at work). Combined with professional efficacy -- when you are effective in your job, you are more committed to your occupation, a measure of job satisfaction -- we can aim to more likely enjoy the fruits of our labors, beyond a paycheck. Employers who give clear guidance and feedback, reward merit, and encourage staff to develop new skills are better choices if someone wants to boost those feelings. Look for a boss who acts that way -- and if the reader is in a position of authority, be that kind of boss.

Happiness may not only be a consequence of success, but also a cause. Essentially, we argued that the presence of frequent positive emotions (such as joy, happiness, and contentment) may precede and even promote career success. This past year, we returned to the literature to determine whether more recent findings continued to support our hypothesis. What did we discover? It turns out that the wealth of evidence indicates that happiness is indeed a critical precursor to success.

Are happy workers more likely to perform well -- and succeed in the workplace? It appears so. When a person is prompted to experience positive emotions, they set higher goals for themselves, persevere at challenging tasks longer, view themselves and others more favorably, and are more optimistic they will succeed. People induced to feel happy also demonstrate greater creativity and productivity than those who are driven to feel less happy. 

Employers are better off creating environments that authentically increase workers’ happiness. One way to do this might involve giving employees the option to engage in positive activities designed to enhance well-being, such as performing acts of kindness for co-workers or expressing gratitude to customers.

Read more over at The Atlantic.

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