The Happy At Work Manifesto DRAFT VERSION – What do you think?

SignBelow the fold is the draft version of a manifesto for happiness at work. The idea is that those of us who agree can sign it to support happiness at work.

A manifesto must of course be bold, provocative and inspiring. Take a look at this one and tell me what you think. Would you sign it?

The Happy At Work Manifesto

This manifesto is a declaration of principles and intentions for those of us who have decided, that we want to be happy at work.

It’s time we stopped putting up with unhappy workplaces, bad bosses and unpleasant working conditions. Unhappiness at work is not a minor annoyance. It can make us despondent, cynical and negative. Worst case, it makes us sick or kills us.

Being happy at work, on the other hand, gives us more energy, drive, fun, good experiences, creativity, productivity and success. That is what we need more of. That is how we will work from now on. With happiness.

1: I choose to be happy at work
I refuse to work at any job that does not make me happy. It’s that simple. I will wake up in the morning and look forward to work. I will speak proudly to others of the work I do and the people I work with. I will look forward equally to monday morning and friday afternoon.

2: I can be happy at work
Actually, anyone can. Provided they decide to.

3: My happiness at work is my responsibility
While my boss, my co-workers, my employees and my workplace all affect my happiness at work, the ultimate responsibility for it is mine and mine alone.

4: Knowing what makes me happy or unhappy at work is my responsibility
It’s not up to my boss, my co-workers, my employees or my workplace to experiment to find out what it takes to make me happy at work. It’s up to me.

5: Letting others know what makes me happy or unhappy at work is my responsibility
It’s not up to others to guess, it’s up to me to tell them.

6: Something will happen when I do something
As long as I sit on my butt and wait for my boss, my co-workers, my employees or my workplace to do something to make me happy, nothing will happen.

7: I know that my happiness at work affects my happiness outside of work
A really bad day at work is hard to forget when I get home. A great day at work gives me energy for a great afternoon and evening at home. A great work week is the best springboard for a great weekend.

8: I know that happiness at work affects my health
Being unhappy or stressed at work can make sick, depressed and even kill me. Conversely, being happy at work makes me healthier and stronger mentally and physically.

9: I may end up spending most of my waking hours at work – I want to make those hours count
I may be spending more time at work than I will on my family, my friends and my hobbies combined. I want those hours to be fun and pleasant. And I want them to contribute to something meaningful.

10: It’s OK to have a bad day at work
I can’t be happy at work all day, every day. It’s always OK to have a bad day at work. A bad week, month or year is not OK.

11: I do my best work when I’m happy
When I’m happy I’m engaged, motivated, committed, more creative, less risk-averse, more service-minded and more productive.

12: There’s no such thing as too much happiness
No matter how happy I am, a little more never hurts.

13: I recognize that happiness at work also comes from the time NOT spent at work
Holidays, weekends, days and other tim away from work give me time to reflect and relax. It gives me new input and ideas. A life spent almost exclusively at work is LESS likely to make me happy.

14: I recognize that happiness at work is different for everyone
One person’s dream job is another’s living hell. The things that make me happy at work may be a terrible experience for many other people.

15: Happiness at work is something I create now.
Not next month, next quarter or next year. You’re happy now – or never.

16: I recognize that happiness at work doesn’t come from the absence of bad things in the workplace
All workplaces can have unpleasant people, too much work, demanding customers, stress, red tape and other idiosyncracies and annoyances. Though we strive to minimize these, I won’t wait to be happy at work until all of these have been eliminated. If I did wait, I would never be happy.

17: Happiness at work is infectious – I will be a carrier
Unhappiness at work is also contagious – but it’s no fun to pass on that particular virus.

18: I will make others happy at work also
It makes no sense to only try and make myself happy. Because happiness is contagious, I would quickly lose my happiness if I were the only happy one.

19: The best way to make myself happy at work is by making others happy at work
Because it’s nice to make others happy and when they’re happy they’ll make you happy.

20: I recognize that sometimes happiness at work can only come from leaving my job
Maybe I can become happy in my current job. Maybe the only way to happiness at work is to find a new job. If that’s what it takes, then that’s what I’ll do.

21: Happiness at work ain’t rocket science
The things that are necessary to make me happy at work are really simple and can easily be brought into almost any workplace. Recognition. A positive attitude. Learning and growing. Sharing decisions. Openness.

22: I give to get
If I feel that others never appreciate me I will start by appreciating them. If others never listen, I will listen to them. I will set a good example, and give to get.

23: I recognize that a higher salary will not make me happy at work
There’s nothing wrong with getting paid a lot of money. I just don’t expect it to make me happy at work.

24: I recognize that power, status symbols, a corner office or even access to the corporate jet won’t make me happy at work
It feels good at first, sure, but the thrill quickly fades and it can never compensate for a bad work experience.

25: No five-year plans
I can take the journey to happiness at work in small steps. I will pick the low-hanging fruit first and focus on what is easy, fast and fun to do.

26: Happiness at work comes from what you and I can do here and now
I will get others involved and I will start now.

15 thoughts on “The Happy At Work Manifesto DRAFT VERSION – What do you think?”

  1. “Low-hanging fruit” ? I was with you all the way until that one crept in. Having just gone through a Values Framework process with some of my staff, the one thing made perfectly clear to me from the outset is that management-speak is the ultimate turn-off. Call it plainly, or not at all.

    Other than that, sign me up :)

  2. I like it, but I wonder if 26 points is too much? It’s tough because each point makes sense, and strikes a cord, but would the manifesto as a whole benefit from only being say 5 points? I think so, but author’s call.

  3. I like the list but I was thinking it needed even more items on it. (personal opinon) I was directed to this blog from another blogger that said I sounded like this one.

  4. I can intellectually agree with every item in your manifesto. And I wouldn’t sign it! I actually believe signing a manifesto like this would be counterproductive for happiness – at least for me! Signing this would put my search for happiness in the ‘ought to’ side of my world. It would increase my neurotic illusion that by deciding to be happy and be disciplined about pursuing it, I will be happy – when it is exactly this neurotic illusion that makes me unhappy. For me it works to let go instead of holding tighter. Of course YMMV.

  5. A trip on the corporate jet to a location of my choice might cure a bad day at work. But as you say, it is ok to have a bad day at work so I can leave my toothbrush at home.

  6. mooders: Gotcha – I’ll fix that one to something less buzzword-y.

    My NameIsMatt, Allengirl4, Classy: Hmmm… All good manifestos are long. Martin Luther’s had 95, you know :o)

    Tom: I may add a few more, if I think of some :o)

    Gerardo, Jonas: Thanks!

    Michael: I know what you mean. That is in fact why the manifesto is written in the present tense. Not “I will have…” or “I will do” but “I have…” and “I do…”

    Lars: You can borrow my jet any time. Oh, I don’t have one…

  7. Luther didn’t write a manifesto. He wrote theses. And more to the point: His 95 theses did IMHO a better job at actually saying 95 different things. I think you could easily weed this down to 10

  8. It can take up to 50 reasons to start to really look deeply at something differently. To get people to take the time to look at things differently is challenging, on the internet there is a great deal of searching for the quick fix. The other scientific principal is that we use material the most that we come into contact with at least 20 times. Until you have been in contact with something 20 times it really does not start getting used much.

    I like this blog but the ads between the posts are annoying. I really like some of the concepts that he is mentioning here they are great ideas.

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