In my last column, we introduced the seven main principles of our WorkHappy Manifesto, a philosophy we created to inspire and equip workers everywhere to better enjoy their professional lives.
In case you missed it, here’s the full list.
• No. 1: I work happy because I deserve to.
• No. 2: My career does not define me; I define my career.
• No. 3: My networking strategy starts with face-to-face, not email-to-email.
• No. 4: My goals are aggressive and my work ethic is relentless.
• No. 5: I surround myself with positive people who have pure motives.
• No. 6: I go out of my way to mentor, coach, motivate, grow, advance, mobilize, challenge and inspire others.
• No. 7: I turn down opportunities from companies misaligned with my moral compass.
Each week, we will drill down into one of the principles to give you more context about some of the truths and myths associated with each one.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.
No. 1: I work happy because I deserve to.
Yes you do, darn it. Your career is too short in the grand scheme of your life to be marred in turmoil, negativity and glass ceilings. Americans are working more hours than ever before, so it’s natural that they would want to experience some level of happiness in their jobs.
The key to uncovering more vocational joy is understanding what it is that actually makes you happy. Is it money, promotions or company status? Is it travel or flexibility?
Until you understand what makes you tick, you’ll waver from opportunity to opportunity in search of an undefined goal for your career.
Productivity & money
Americans labor 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more than Brits, and 499 more than the French, according to the International Labor Organization. Here’s another eye-opening statistic: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that the average American worker’s productivity has increased 400% since 1950.
With all this increase in productivity, Americans should be reaping the rewards of higher pay, right? The reality is their wages have flatlined for four decades, adjusting for inflation.
This widening gap between workload, productivity and earnings has left many Americans unable to simply pay for family’s their monthly expenses, let alone vacations or other things they enjoy.
Family stress begins to translate into work stress and pretty soon, a vicious cycle begins to take form. Many of the clients I’ve worked with over the years can only break this cycle by taking control of their careers.
Earn > deserve
Here’s where the mythology of “deserving” work happiness comes into play. We’re all exposed to a barrage of advertisements convincing us that we have the right to do whatever makes us happy. But is it really that easy? Can we just conquer our careers and live the rest of our professional lives atop a mountain of happiness?
In last week’s WorkHappy Spotlight, former Southern Illinois University linebacker, Ryan Patton, shared with us his philosophy on career success.
“I think the greatest lesson I learned from my athletic experience is what you get out of something is a direct result of what you put into it,” he said. “There are no shortcuts.” Ryan has leveraged his athletic success to continue his family business, Howell Insurance Agency, which was established in 1925.
In the article, Ryan walked us through various aspects of what’s driving his career happiness, including his wife and kids, his customers and carrying on his family’s tradition. Are you able to define the things influencing your career objectives?
Talk about perfect timing! Next time, we’ll tackle No. 2 on our WorkHappy Manifesto list: My career does not define me; I define my career.
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. Email Joe@TheUpWriteGroup.com for more guidance on work happiness.