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Work and Happiness - How to be happy at work

Updated on August 27, 2012

Liking your job is very important

The Writer at forty-five.  He might be smiling but, at that age, he didn't like his job at all.
The Writer at forty-five. He might be smiling but, at that age, he didn't like his job at all.

Like your work. You'll spend the greater part of your life at it, so it's best to like your work

Welcome to Work and Happiness - How to be Happy at Work.

Most people spend between forty and fifty years earning an income. That’s a long time, more than half of an average lifetime, and, unless things change drastically in the century ahead, most of us will continue to work this way. Naturally, we’d want these years to be happy ones. So what can we do about it to make them so?

One of the first things to do is to examine why you’re in the particular job your in. Is it for the money? Is it because it is expected of you? Is it because of some sort of environmental pressure such as, “This is a mining town, everyone goes into the mines.”? Or is it because some authoritarian figure in your life, a parent or guardian, desires to enhance their own self-image by having you do what you do. “My boy's a doctor?” “Really, mine’s in Law.” You know the sort of thing. If it is any of these, the chances are you won’t be happy about it.

Perhaps you're actually meant to be there - at this time

The other alternative is that “It just sort of happened.” And when it “- just sort of happened,” you can assume that you’re actually meant to be in that job at that time. This is how something bigger than our ego-self is steering us towards something we need to learn, and this working environment will provide the lesson.

This does not necessarily mean we’ll be happy about the situation? We want to learn how to be happy at work, not have a philosophical lecture about fate, karma, and something bigger than what we regard as ourselves. But loosen up here. We’re in it. We can just as easily get out of it. That old poem, “I am the captain of my soul, the master of my fate,” really does apply. Main thing is, you’ve got to believe it. And believing it means taking a risk.

Like your work - well, it's not always easy

Feeling you're just 'another cog in the wheel' doesn't generally make for happiness
Feeling you're just 'another cog in the wheel' doesn't generally make for happiness

Work and Happiness - How to be Happy at Work

What sort of risk? It means being willing to forego the certainly that, although you despise this particular job at the moment, you really do have the choice to leave it. The only way this wouldn’t be the case is if you were under contract in the military, in prison or a concentration camp, or were a manacled slave of one sort or another. Most of us don’t fall into these categories. If we are in a prison it is of our own mental making.

Sure it takes courage to simply slip that letter of resignation into the letter box on the way to work. Or to front the boss directly. Or, to a lesser extent, just walk away, telling no one you’re never going back. The courage comes because of the uncertainty of where that next pay cheque is coming from. Mastering the terrible thoughts about, “losing the house and home.” Having the strength of character to shrug off the visualizations of all the things which could go wrong, and focusing on the fact that you are now free to choose.

Some jobs are an adventure

Of course, there are jobs and jobs.  Here's me and a friend off to MacQuarie Island as expeditioners in 1976
Of course, there are jobs and jobs. Here's me and a friend off to MacQuarie Island as expeditioners in 1976

When you like your job you look foreward to your working day

You know when you’re happy in your work. When you get up in the morning there is a spring in your step. You look forward to it. Even if there are challenges you welcome them. I spent forty-four years in paid employment. Of those forty-four years I would estimate that I enjoyed around sixteen to seventeen of those years. In one particular career I enjoyed the first five years enormously, the remaining six I abhorred. But the money was good, I’d passed the internal in-house exams, I was qualified and being ‘groomed for stardom.’ Also there was excellent pay, job-permanency, a certain amount of prestige. Most of all there was security. It took me two years of heart-felt procrastination before I plucked up the courage to resign. It wasn’t easy. And when I did, the few weeks were extremely difficult. Even the job I got at the end of this time was a disappointment. But it led to other things. By being willing to take the risk, my life went off in a new direction. Sure there were trials and tribulations. But in the long term, my heart told me that this was the right thing to do.

So I say to you, if you want to be happy in your work, that is, like your job, go with your heart. In the long run, you will look back and know that the action your took is the right one.

I hope you enjoyed Work and Happiness - How to be Happy at Work.

Keep smiling



Submit a Comment

  • music2electro profile image


    8 years ago from Germany

    Alright! That is true that we spend most of our life working. It is what most are born to be.. Sadly most don't enjoy their jobs. Good Article.


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