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Joe Szynkowski: Jobs make us happy. But why? And why not everyone?
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Joe Szynkowski: Jobs make us happy. But why? And why not everyone?

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Sometimes, a clear-eyed look in the mirror is exactly what the doctor ordered to assess your career.

Are you doing just enough to get by and drudging through your days at the office? Do you work to pay the bills or is there something more at play?

Tapping into that “something more” is where truly happy professionals have found the secret sauce.

Joe Szynkowski: Working alone, with people

In a recent chapter of the World Happiness Report — check out the 2020 version here — experts have uncovered a variety of factors contributing to or detracting from professional satisfaction. You may be surprised to find that money isn’t the only contributor, but that social status, relationships, daily structure and goals play just as big of a role.

Since most of us spend a great deal of our lives working — experts say 90,000 hours — it is obvious that our work plays a key part in determining our overall happiness.

Who works the happiest?

The World Happiness Report uses the Gallup World Poll to track much of its data. Gallup surveyed workers from 11 different industries to uncover work happiness indicators.

Interestingly enough, people working blue-collar jobs report lower levels of overall happiness in every region around the world. This spans the construction, mining, manufacturing, transport, farming, fishing and forestry fields.

Conversely, people around the world who categorize themselves as a manager, an executive, an official or a professional worker attach higher levels of satisfaction with their lives.

Take note that even executives in the survey rank their overall life happiness at a six out of 10 — certainly nothing to write home about!

Joe Szynkowski: The 7th principle: Turn down opportunities misaligned with your moral compass

What about being your own boss?

Do you strive to write your own checks and call your own shots? Sounds great in theory, but the Gallup World Poll found that self-employment is generally associated with lower levels of happiness as compared to being a full-time employee.

According to U.S. survey results, running your own business is associated with more negative, daily emotions such as stress and worry.

Read some of our past Work Happy spotlights on business owners David McCuan, Josh Walker or Kelly Bain — it’s not always a walk in the park!

Joe Szynkowski: The 6th principle: Go out of your way to mentor and mobilize others

What surveys can’t tell you, however, is how rewarding it is to land a new client or receive a positive customer review on one of your products or services. In those cases of validation, business owners will sacrifice a little pain for the feeling of accomplishment every time.

Key takeaways

If we’re honest, we know that career happiness is not a given day after day. Even for people who would rate their current situation as a 10 out of 10, there are stressful days, disagreements with bosses and points of exhaustion.

The point is, there is not a one-size-fits-all work opportunity.

It might be time to take a deep look into where you are right now as a professional. Write out positives and negatives about your situation and bounce your feelings off someone you know.

We’re not meant to do life alone and we’re certainly not meant to work through difficult situations without the support, honesty and guidance of a good friend.

Find your “something more” and pass your experience along to others. You can be an example of happiness and self-awareness that might just help turn things around for someone else struggling with their work situation.

Joe Szynkowski is a Sr. Director for NuVinAir Global, a Dallas-based company disrupting the automotive industry. Thanks to technology, he does so happily from his home east of Marion. Check out for his WorkHappy Spotlights or email for more guidance on finding career joy.


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