Are you happy at your job? If you're like more than half of Americans, you're not fully satisfied with your job. That statistic may sound pretty abysmal, but that's the highest job satisfaction has been in more than a decade.
But it begs the question: Why are so many people unhappy at work?
It shouldn't surprise you to learn that an increase in happiness is correlated with an increase in productivity (up to 12 percent, according to one study), and that your job satisfaction could even impact your health later in life, increasing or reducing your risk for chronic health conditions.
But what is it that makes you happy at work? Does it boil down to having a more positive attitude? Is it finding your "one true calling"? Or is it merely the result of luck?
8 things we learned from the World Happiness Report
Now in its sixth year, the annual World Happiness Report strives to objectively measure happiness around the world, and analyze the root causes for that happiness. In its latest 2017 report, Norway's citizens topped the list as being the happiest in the world, which is attributed to high marks in the following categories:
Of these, income, freedom and trust all relate to professional responsibilities. The report delves into more specifics related to happiness at work, analyzing self-reported measures of happiness and well being (which are distinct concepts treated somewhat interchangeably in this report) that represent 98 percent of the global population.
These are some of the key findings of the report:
Being happy at work starts at home
According to a recent study by Oregon University, a happy home life can result in an increase in immersion and productivity, leading to a happier work life. Specifically, they found that workers with an active sex life reported higher levels of engagement and satisfaction than those with strained relationships or other stressors at home.
As much as we try to separate our personal and professional lives, there's no denying tha there's a correlation here. Failing to address your satisfaction in one area can cause a self-perpetuating spiral; dissatisfaction at home leads to dissatisfaction at work, which leads to even more stress at home, and so on.
So, what about finding your passion?
Do you need to follow your bliss to be satisfied with your work? The answer is a resounding "no." Ben Horowitz's commencement address to Columbia University in 2015 illustrates some of the main issues with this idea. Namely, passions are hard to prioritize, they tend to evolve over time (especially when you're working on them for 40 or more hours a week), it leads to self-centeredness, and your passions don't necessarily reflect what you're good at—or what's in demand.
What's even more important is that the overall appeal or industry of your work doesn't appear to modulate your satisfaction with that work—instead, it's factors like income, work-life balance, and autonomy that lead to satisfaction.
Six ways to be happier at work, starting this week
Do you want to be happier in your career? These are the key points you need to walk away with:
There's no surefire recipe for happiness in any career, but if you can follow these tips and look for work that accommodates them, the science almost guarantees you'll feel happier.