Don’t buy the happiness hype

Happy at work

I got this comment last week on my post on how to find a job you’ll love:

My advice, find a job that pays well, stay there and make your life outside work worth it. Donít believe the hype about getting your degree and living a great life with a job you love. I tried it and now Iím going to lose my house, my car and probably my family cause I canít find work.

There’s something to this. Making happiness one of the primary goals of your career and work life carries a cost. It may make finding a new job harder, because you can’t just take any job out there. It means taking action and working to improve you job if you’re not happy. It may even mean having to leave a workplace because you realize that you will never be happy there no matter how hard you try. This is why I never tell people to put happiness first. I ask them to consider making that choice – and making it with open eyes.

However, the simple counter-argument to the comment above is this: People who hate their jobs get fired all the time too.

5 thoughts on “Don’t buy the happiness hype”

  1. Maybe I’m naive, but I believe that a job that makes you happy will eventually allow you to be more protective and earn more then a job you hate and keep just to pay the bills.

  2. There may be “something” to it, but when you are going to a daily grind which you hate and gets you down, why continue? Work generally takes up 1/3 of your waking life, it should be enjoyed/enjoyable.

    To be fair to the original poster of this comment, graphic design & media can be hard to get into, despite a high level of talent or motivation – sometimes you just need that lucky break, a hook-up, a chance meeting. I had to emigrate, even with a masters, worth signifcantly less than the paper it’s written on, to get working in the same field, but I did so with a positive outlook and the iron will & determination to never return home with my tail between my legs. Took a while, a lot of knock-backs and some very hard years, but I’m well on the way to getting on the road I want to be on and I am stoked with my situation at the moment.

    Then again, like me before I moved, you can be rubbish and not know it… Academic qualifications are not always needed and can count for nothing in certain fields.

  3. I see working at the stable, highly secure job that pays well but that you don’t enjoy as only a short term strategy. Otherwise, what’s the point of it all? I built my own business doing something I really enjoy and find fulfilling while I worked a regular 9-5 job. Now, I’ve been running my own business full time for several years. I want my whole life to be “worth it”, not just nights, weekends, and one vacation a year!

    You may have to take responsibility for creating the job you love – not expecting someone else to hire you for it. One thing almost all the people I know who have jobs that make them happy have in common is that they are self-employed. I completely agree with commenter cirian, a college degree doesn’t necessarily play a role in whether or not you can do what you love. It often does mean you have to take any job you can get to try to pay off all those student loans.


  4. Happiness is definitely a good thing to pursue. What many forget is, what makes someone happy is not necessarily the same thing as what makes someone ELSE happy.

    “Forget all about salary, titles, perks and status”…

    For example, some people place great stock in status and titles. But on a personal basis, I don’t care what the company calls me as long as they pay according to the job duties and not the title. Being underpaid doesn’t make me happy.

    The key thing here is, what makes YOU happy? :)

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