Choose happiness at work

How happy do you want to be at work?

How happy do you want to be at work?

Of course, no one is looking to be unhappy at work – but is not actively hating your job enough for you?

Here are some great stories from around the web from people who have discovered the importance of happiness at work. First a story from a man with real management potential:

When I get my own department to control, the first thing I am going do is ask people what they want to be happy at work. Truly happy.

My goal would be to get a group of people who loved coming in and loved being there. I would recognize the fact that people the people I hired were adults and would handle their responsiblities.

So what if they spend a day playing a game all day and taking a 2 hour lunch. As long as they get their work done on time and at a high level what difference does it make. If someone was taking advantage of it and not getting their work done, then yeah, it’s a problem. But if they are doing great work, who cares?

In my eyes I look at the results. Sure people do good work right now, but I think by making them more comfortable and making work more enjoyable they would do GREAT work. (Source)

That is the manager of the future – a person who recognizes that a leader’s first responsibility is to make people happy at work. Forget your mission statements, visions statements and corporate values – that is a manifest for great leadership right there.

Here’s another great story about happiness at work:

I have survived the place for ‘almost’ a year now. However, it was yesterday, Monday the 9th of Jan 2007…..that I finally experienced my FIRST REAL HAPPINESS at work….

You see what happened was that I was assigned to work on an issue… [I invited] our Team Leader Leader to come to my computer to check our the partly done work.

When my project leader arrived he was like “Wow….look at it… finally I get to see some happy news today”!!! Looking at his face and hearing closely to his tone, you can feel a genuine happiness flowing from his face. And after he was done poking around on the interface….he simply said to me “Well done…..good job!” (and I could also tell it was a genuine appreciation too)!

And THIS is what I call “joy in the workplace”! : ) A genuine appreciation and a genuine admiration of one’s work! And what makes it even more joyful was that I myself, did not think it deserves such appreciation, seriously it doesn’t look THAT nice at all!!! So to see the joy on his face was a total shocker for me!!!

And hence after this I thought to myself, if ONE DAY I am lucky enough to become a management person. I will definitely remember to give credits to my team when its worth it and show my appreciation and admiration to their work frequently!!! Because this is what makes a team work and one happy employee that will continue to work hard on their job! (Source)

While it’s pretty sad that a person could work somewhere for a year without experiencing any happiness at work, this story shows just how little it takes, and just how powerful genuine appreciation is. And how yet another person chooses happiness at work.

Here’s one final, powerful story:

One of the things I decided a while ago (see posts passim. for reasons why) was that I wanted to be happy at work.

It’s stupid, when you write it out like that. Who doesn’t want to be happy at work? And yet, it took a conscious decision on my part that one of the things I would look for in a job was that it made me happy. Not ‘it pays the bills’, not ‘it’s better than being on the dole’, but actively happy.

No job is going to manage that 100% of the time, of course. I’m not happy when I’m stressed, I’m not happy when I’m bored, but every job will have either stresses or boredom in it, and the bad jobs have both. But I made the decision that if I ever found myself in a job where, on a regular basis, I woke up in the mornings and didn’t want to go into work, I’d change.

But there needs to be an element of personal responsibility in there as well. I can’t expect my employers to provide for my every need – I don’t need to be spoon fed. So as long as they give me the space to grow, and the support to do so, that’s where my responsibility comes in. (Source)

How cool is that – more and more people are choosing happiness at work. And yes, it does seem a little silly because who wants to be unhappy at work.

But I’ve always felt, that the real choice here isn’t between happiness and unhappiness at work – we all know what we prefer out of those two choices. It’s a matter of choosing between a job situation that is happy and one that is merely… ok. Which is what most people have.

They don’t hate work too much (if they did, they’d probably find new work), but they don’t really like it either. Some people have had it like this for years – some spend their entire careers/work lives like that.

And more and more people are saying “Naaah – that’s not for me. I want to be happy at work. I want to wake up most mornings and look forward to my work day. I want to have fun at work. I want to use my strengths and do work I can be proud of. I want to come to work excited and leave proud.”

I predict a future, soon in fact, in which this is the normal approach to work. In which we’ll look back and wonder, why so many people ever decided to settle for any less.

This change will come from two places:

  1. Companies realizing that they make more money when their people are happy
  2. You and me choosing once and for all to be happy at work

I can’t wait :o)

8 thoughts on “Choose happiness at work”

  1. I love reading your articles, and think you are doing a great work. I think we can all relate to these examples, and hopefully you will give people hope that it is in their power to change their jobs for the better. Thank you for your insights and encouragement to have a good life.

  2. I love your site and blog! I think the message you send is incredibly important, and having fun at work definitely makes all the difference both in company morale, and productivity! You remind me of the woman I work for, Karen Salmansohn. She is a best-selling author, and has her own radio show on Sirius called Be Happy Dammit! Her website,, radio show, books, and blog, all help give me a boost in my mood, and lift my spirits. So, as you can tell, luckily, I won’t be needing your book! However, everyone else should check out her website! Thanks for the great job!!!

  3. Nice article. I it’s important to be happy with our work. Once we have learned how our jolike your emphasis on how happy we should be in our work. I agree thatb works and the happiness involved, we tend to prioritize happiness over sacrifice.

  4. I agee with Howie. We need to be happy at work and the way we become happy at work is when the time at work is seen not as a daily drag but as the step to achievement of a goal. The law of attraction is being sited by many as a manner of getting goals achieved but like most systems it requires changes to our belif systems with goals moving from being a dream and a hope to a determined plan that is stuck to. Bob Proctor the auther of The Science of Getting Rich has a report/interview out on the web on the law of attraction etc which if your interested can be downloaded for FREE at

  5. Swan: Thanks. I’m blushing here :o)

    Alexis: I actually talked to Karen once – she seems like a wonderful person. Tell her Hi from me :o) And thanks!

    Howie: I agree completely!

    Ken: The Law of Attraction applies here – but using it to get rich just seems incredibly shallow to me. Wealth has very little to do with happiness – and not only is it easier to become happy than it is to become rich – it’s also a LOT more fun,

  6. I believe you are doing your readers a disservice here. You consistently refer to “happiness” and yet you do not define it? Your posts seem to repeat themselves with a similar message but offer no specific strategies, definitions, tactics and frameworks to assess what MORE you’ve accomplished as the result of this “happiness” vs. any alternative state. Also, how are we to distinguish between REALLY happy and mildly happy. Will occassionaly happy work? What if a HOME life makes one UNHAPPY and that bleeds subconcsiously into your job? Is it your WORK that is making you unhappy or is it your relationship to it? Is your definitions, self-esteem which is to blame? could it be that you lack a focused attention to WHO you are and WHAT you value in life? Perhaps it is not the Job, it is YOU which is the problem?

    You appear to believe that happiness is the paramount objective of work. I disagree. Self mastery, mastery of complexity, insight into economics, recognition, esteem, collaboration and the ability to accomplish tasks that one could not accomplish alone and the ability to achieve a sense of self determination. These objectives are not easily attained and require significant focus, effort and stick-to-itness in the face of many set backs. Most audacious goals are enormously challenging and they often test our faith in ourselves. “Happiness” is not necessarily the goal, although a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, pride and esteem often are. Happiness is surely an objective but happiness is akin to eating candy. Children can feel “happy” from a bowl of candy. But after too much of it and no protein, they will soon feel the effects and grow listless. Sometimes those nutrients the child needs for growth come in awful tasting vegetables. While they might not taste like candy – they are profoundly important to the child’s mental health. Does it make the child “happy” to eat them? No. Is it necessary for success? Certainly. The same can be said about exercise, waking up early, quiting smoking, enduring psycho-analysis, learning to apologize, etc. All these things require some sacrifice, challenge, pain, etc. None of them makes us “happy” immediately, but the outcomes of the process makes us healthier, wiser, successful, secure and ultimately more open to other’s similar struggles.

    That should be the objective. Happiness as defined by a state of joyous contentment or religious rapture from the knowledge that all is one and that we are the source of the energy of the universe and that the Lord God is the King and that you share in His Glory — that could be Happiness to some. And that has NOTHING to do with money, work, candy, status, rank, gender, race, etc. It is simply the state of BEING.

    Working is the necessary analogy to what we are all doing on the earth. Working toward some sense of betterment of ourselves thru some form of practice or mastery. In the cases where people feel trapped, usually it has to do with some lack of insight into alternatives, usually b/c they lack the imagination to envision an alternative and/or the commitment, faith and drive to focus and execute on their dream.

    Happiness, in my opinion, is not the GOAL but rather the OUTCOME of the life well examined, well mastered and well disciplined. When we focus on our values, develop mastery over our desires, commit ourselves to a disciplined routine of self examination, education, collaboration and openness to input from our peers we can achieve our objectives. They can be ANYTHING grand or subtle. But nothing great is accomplished w/out some form of sacrifice, challenge, commitment, drive and endurance. Anything worth doing, worth struggling for, worth pursuing in life WILL require these elements. And like climbing Mt Everest, the Happiness comes as the result of ACHIEVING the REAL altitude vs. eating a bowl of candy to give yourself an artificial “high.”

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