Money Alone Won't Bring Job Happiness

Money isn’t the end all be all when it comes to happiness at work, according to the recent World Happiness Report released by Columbia University.

That’s not really breaking news to us – we’ve been beating that drum for years.

But the findings outlined in the report are an important reminder – or wakeup call – that if you’re only worried about the bottom line when it comes to a job, you may end up sacrificing what the report’s authors call the “intrinsic features of the job.”

We call them happiness factors and they include things like the work you do, the freedom you have to do it and the people you work with, among others.

Bottom Line: There’s a lot more wrapped up in a job than how much it pays.

People ranked flexible hours and opportunities for advancement at the same level as high income in surveys cited in the happiness report. Job security, how interesting work is and autonomy at work ranked even higher than income.

To further illustrate the point, take the self-employed: They ranked lower for income, hours of work and job security, according to the report. But, they ranked higher than employees when it comes to overall job satisfaction – because they are in control of those “intrinsic features” that bring true work life happiness.

We’re not trying to downplay the importance of compensation – we all have bills to pay and toys to buy, after all – but we want to highlight all the other factors that come together to make for a satisfying work life. Even if you’re pulling in a nice paycheck, can you really be happy spending 40, 50 or 60 hours a week doing something you hate with coworkers you can’t stand, all the while being micromanaged?

Probably not. It’s taking the skip out of our step just thinking about it.

Next time you’re looking for a job – or if you’re dissatisfied at your current one – put concerns about compensation aside for a moment and consider all the factors that influence your happiness at work. Take some time to think about your values when it comes to how you work, where you work and why you work, and then pursue a job that aligns with your conclusions.

We think you’ll be happy you did. 

This post was contributed by Luke Roney of CareerBliss

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