Career Resources

Career Resources

Do You Know What Makes You Happy at Work?

Posted March 19, 2014 & filed under Job Search, Salary

Do You Know What Makes You Happy at Work?

A Pew Research Center survey found that 49 percent of employees are dissatisfied with their current position. Do you know what makes you happy at work? No need to get existential for an answer. Without any real cognitive strain, you can probably identify most of the factors that liven up your spirits at work. Yet a discernable deficit in on-the-job happiness persists.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness

In the same Pew study, only 28 percent of employees feel that their compensation has any parity with their real market worth. That may lead some people to draw correlations between job dissatisfaction and insufficient pay, but even when wages go up, people aren’t happy at work.

Look at former hedge fund trader (now philanthropist) Sam Polk as an example. In an op-ed piece, he revealed that the bonus for his final year on Wall Street was $3.6 million and he still was “angry because it wasn’t enough.” Not until after he broke out on his own did he start to find satisfaction and meaning in his work.

His account goes to show that money isn’t a panacea and job dissatisfaction doesn’t disappear the moment salary increases. Some professionals even find themselves in jobs where the salary is too good to quit, where they are miserable but feel trapped because of all the money flowing into their bank account. In time, even that elevated salary will fail to keep employees from wanting to move on.

Finding What Makes You Happy at Work

A study in January found that non-monetary benefits often have greater pull when it comes to keeping employees happy at work and satisfied. The main factors that keep employees happy are a combination of flexibility, corporate cultures, and a clear reward structure. Each employee is going to have a different weighted balance for each factor, so you need to find out which is the most important to you.

Ask yourself a few questions before looking at a new position. What do you value?

  • A set schedule or the ability to set your own time?
  • Working independently or collaborating with a team?
  • An open office layout or your own personal space?
  • A vibrant company culture?
  • Unique benefits?
  • Generous paid time off?

When you have your answers, determine which are essential and which are only nice to have. And if you’re having a hard time narrowing down the essentials to you being happy at work, give one of our recruiters a call. They can help you determine what is paramount to your career happiness and bring you into contact with companies that make your dreams a reality.

by James Walsh

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