New Year = New Job? Pursue a New Job or Pursue Happiness?

It’s a new year and a new decade with continued signs of economic and employment recovery. As we start the first week of Twenty-Ten, there is an air of renewed optimism and hope all around us.  I believe we are on the cusp of seeing the job market open back up and the return of jobs beginning to “churn” again.  Not only have we seen a reduction of jobs, but for nearly the past two years, people with jobs that seemed secure, stayed in them and didn’t take the chance of looking at the grass on the other side. This was wise since it wasn’t about the grass being greener on the other side; it was about not even knowing what color the grass was.  This stopped the normal “churn” that has always been there. But now, things are starting to change and there is a real pent-up churn waiting to happen and when it does, it will come on strong. So now, would be the time to start thinking about what you want to do next!  Sure, you have a dream job (or at least you should have one), but what about the other attributes of the next job?  What’s at the top of your list?  One of the outcomes of these last couple of years is that I hear more people talking about just wanting to find something and someplace where they can be “happy”.

Well, there is good news, a new study by Marshall and Kelly Goldsmith says that we can get both and the job we do is more of a contributing factor than we might have thought.  They are quoted in saying:

“Our findings were in many cases unexpected but clear-cut. There is an increasingly high correlation between people’s happiness and meaning at work and at home. In other words, those who experience happiness and meaning at work tend also to experience them outside of work. Those who are miserable on the job are usually miserable at home.”

So, what is the perfect job to increase your happiness?  The Goldsmith’s findings point at some interesting facts that is it not always about the obvious.  For one example, it’s not about how many hours you work.  I’ve always said to anyone who complains about the number of hours they work, that that’s not the problem; it’s about what they get out of the hours that they spend at work. The study says the same.  It’s not about the number of hours; it’s about the amount of time spent on meaningful work. If we work on things that have long-term purposeful results then we are more likely to be happy overall.

So, as you think about making the next job move, making the meaning of the work personally important to you should be the number one attribute on your list.  The good news, and the bad news on this; no one else but you can know what is personally meaningful.  Now, before you put your head up to make a change, is the time to define the meaning of meaningful…for you!

Categories Career Advice