Happiness at work is something that we all strive for, yet many of us struggle to achieve. Hundreds of thousands of us dread the next week as it approaches but there must be someone whistling on their way to work, right? And if there is, what is their job that makes them so happy?
See Also: How to Start to Love a Job You Hate
According to career psychologists, there are specific jobs that bring happiness. Happiness at work is everybody’s business and ultimately companies want happier workers. A satisfied worker is less likely to take time off as sick leave, or to leave the company, therefore saving recruitment and personnel costs.
In a number of work surveys, certain occupations are voted as leaders in satisfaction and wellbeing. The Guardian reporters, analyzed the data from the many different job happiness surveys in a survey of surveys, to find the golden grail of happiness at work. They found that the jobs below can make a happy worker. And you’ll be surprised to see, it is not always all about the money. For example, hedge fund managers are nowhere to be seen.
Despite the high profile news about the stress that teachers can find themselves under with targets and Government changes to the curriculum, teachers rated top for happiness in the job charts. The average annual salary of a UK teacher is £30,000 plus, which makes it over the average salary of $29,500. Teachers can increase their salary further too by taking on additional responsibilities, such as head of department or special educational needs coordinator. Teaching is a safe job too. No matter what the state of the economy, there will always be children and young people that need teaching.
Teachers have a direct affect on the learning of others and this has a direct affect on happiness. This good salary, stable career and the ability to directly affect the achievement of others, makes this a top job for happiness.
Engineers featured highly in the survey, and it’s not hard to see why. Engineers can command an annual salary of up to $60,000 per annum. If they are good at what they do and build a solid reputation they will always be on demand, despite the fluctuations in the economy. Engineers have creative control on what they are making. Being able to use their creativity and problem-solving skills in their everyday work makes this job a very satisfying one. The magic formula for happiness is a high salary, not being a ’cog in a wheel’ and the personal satisfaction of seeing designs moving from the drawing board to real life scenarios.
Despite the average salary of a nurse at £26,000 being lower than that of the salary of teachers and engineers, nurses still come out top of the league as one of the happiest workers. Nurses, like teachers, have a direct impact on other people’s lives and this personal power to impact positively on others is a significant factor in happiness. A nurse’s job is meaningful and helping others, has been scientifically proven to make us feel good- a simple act of helping others can make us happy and give us a sense of wellbeing.
Doctors came top in many of the surveys, and with an annual salary of €70,000 and a satisfying, life affirming job, it’s not hard to see why. Teamwork, making a difference, the ’rush’ of A&E and the everyday variety all make contribute to a happy medical practitioner, according to The Guardian. Being a doctor is a status symbol too. There is no one who won’t gush a little on the inside upon hearing you are a doctor. You simply never get the same reaction in administration.
Gardeners are not as well paid as engineers or as revered as doctors and teachers but they are still considered as very happy workers. Gardeners are lower down the pay scale with an average $22,000 annually. However, gardening is still considered as a satisfying work life because gardeners are creative and solution-focused, they see the ’fruits of their labours and their work makes a difference (in aesthetics).
A significant element of happiness is gained from being involved in the whole work cycle of a process - many of us are only involved in one part of a process, a ’cog in a wheel’. Gardeners see the whole process from design, to planting to maintaining their landscaped creation. Together with the outdoor lifestyle and healthy living, this career choice makes for a happy worker, despite the lower than average salary.
You will notice that office work isn’t featured at all in the list of happiest workers. This raises a big concern, especially as the majority of jobs are office based for most people. According to an article by The Atlantic, the average American works up to 2,000 hours every year. Being happier at work is really a goal we should all aim for, but how can we achieve it if we are currently in a job that doesn’t even make it on to the happy list? We can’t all be doctors and engineers. However, there are common aspects that we can take from the list of happy jobs that we can look for in our own everyday work. Here are some tips to make your work place a happy space:
- Control what you do. Many of the jobs that are on the happy list have an aspect of being able to control your own work load. Although we can’t decide all of our work priorities, we can try and manage the work that is in our control
- Help others. We can’t all save lives but we can all find small ways to help others. It’s a win-win situation. Offer to help someone with a job that they are struggling with, make a drink for colleagues (without ending up the tea runner) or finish a job off for someone if they are off sick or on holiday
- Try and get involved in ’the whole process’. Genuine work happiness stems from seeing something through from the beginning to end and realising your impact. If you are only involved in one small part of a project, ask your manager if you can expand your engagement to other areas
Work is central to our identity so it is important that we do something that we are happy with, whenever we can. It’s important that we enjoy our work and are happy in what we do. If you’re not happy, or not sure what type of job you could do in the future that would make you, take a look at the list of happy jobs. All the workers have a good income but more importantly, they have a direct impact on the environment they are working in. If you feel like a cog in a wheel, it is very unlikely that you would be happy. So, if you can’t take a job that is on the happy list, at least try and build in those aspects of work that make you happy in your own job.
Are you happy with your job? If not, what would you do to change that? Let us know in the comments section below.