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Finding happiness at work

Questions to ask about your job

Would you go to your current job if you didn't get paid? How you answer that question may reveal important insights into how your job affects your long-term happiness.

Over a lifetime, workers spend an average of 90,000 hours on the job, according to data in Happiness at Work. For that reason, author Jessica Pryce-Jones suggests to that we should make careful choices about the employment we choose. "I'd advise thinking about the tasks and relationships in your job that you really enjoy, and figure out how to maximize them," she said. Keep in mind, however, that salary might not contribute as much as one might expect. A recent study by two Princeton University professors revealed that personal income fails to provide a happiness boost once it rises above the $75,000 per year threshold.

So how does one find happiness at work? To begin, ask yourself these key questions. Examining the answers will help you to maximize the aspects of your job which contribute to overall workplace satisfaction. If you are in the process of looking for new employment, the insight you gain from a careful evaluation may point you in a direction not previously considered.

Questions to Ask About Your Job

  • How is this work important?
  • What can I contribute?
  • What excites me?
  • How can this work challenge me in an ongoing way?
  • Would I do this work even if I didn't get paid?
  • How does this address my passions?
  • Would I think about my work even when I'm not working
  • Does this work make me feel proud?
  • Can I achieve excellence at this?
  • Can I forge a true friendship with the other people who work here?

The process of articulating the reasons that you feel proud, challenged and important on the job will help you to take advantage of the positive elements already in place at your job site. If the answers to the questions reveal a scenario that is more bleak than you had expected, don't despair. The answers may still provide insight into happiness opportunities that you hadn't considered. For example, socializing after work is one of the most satisfying activities we do on a daily basis. If it has not been a regular part of your work environment, try organizing an after-work activity which will unite co-workers on a level playing field and offer an opportunity for building friendships that will carry over into the workday. Improving the quality and frequency of social interaction on the job will have a positive effect.

The workplace is only one of the six domains, which affect our happiness over the long term. These interconnected Thrive Centers contribute to our overall sense of well-being. To learn more about how your environment affects happiness and to read about making changes within these Thrive Centers, log onto or read Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way.

Photo Source: Brian Finifter

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