Be Your Own CHO: Chief Happiness Officer

Is your workplace’s “look and feel” stimulating? Are the people friendly and fun to be around? Are the managers and supervisors consistently supportive and authentic? Does your workplace foster trust and advancement? Even more important, do you get to work on the things you love? Related: 4 Things You Can Do To Be Happier At Work Today Are you fully engaged in what you do every day? In other words, are you happy in your job? This is more important than may be immediately obvious. Dr. Sonja Lyobomirsky, Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Riverside has researched the consequences of happiness and discovered that it has multiple byproducts which benefit individuals, families, communities, and society at large. These include:


  • Higher income
  • Greater productivity & work quality
  • More satisfying & longer marriages, more friends & richer social interactions
  • More activity, energy & flow
  • Improved physical health
  • Longer life
Dr. Lyobmirsky has found that happier people are more creative, helpful, charitable, and self-confident. They also have better self-control, self-regulation, and coping skills. When it comes to your worklife, these are critical questions to ask yourself, says Career Happiness Coach Erica Loren. “It is important to be clear whether your work environment is or is not supporting your career goals or passions. You need to be proactive in understanding what you need for career advancement.” Loren notes that your happiness “set point” is based on three factors: [1] DNA (50%); [2] your life circumstances (10%); and [3] you (40%). She cites research from the Institute of Leadership & Management that the most important on-the-job motivators for most people are:
  • Enjoying the job (59%)
  • Getting paid well (49%)
  • Getting along with colleagues (42%)
  • Being treated fairly by managers (22%)
  • Having control over their work (22%)
  • Receiving bonuses (13%)
There are a number of ways to clarify your on-the-job motivators and pursue career happiness. The most important thing according to Loren is take your own career happiness seriously and recognize that it is your responsibility. Workplace disengagement is a huge issue facing companies today, says Loren, “This is a cancer that is ignored even though it negatively impacts people and their workplaces. This toxicity needs to be addressed because it’s a viral process that left untreated, eats away at attitudes, productivity, efficiency, and creativity at work.” As your own Chief Happiness Officer, you can forge a healthy framework that helps you to identify those issues you can control. Loren finds that such a framework typically consists of action steps such as:
  • Discovering the ‘big why’ in your life – why do you do what you do?
  • Finding out what kind of leader you are
  • Taking control of your worklife so you can make powerful, proactive choices
  • Forecasting your future – what gaps do you perceive in your education or skills?
  • Developing short- and long-term goals complete with “Plan A” and “Plan B” plans
  • Creating a phase-out plan, if needed, to enable you to transition in a new career direction
There are a number of tools that can help you turn your career happiness around, from character strength and value assessments to leadership assessments that measure your attitudes, perceptions, perspective, and reactions under stress. “Having a coach is also a great way to explore what you’re not happy with when it comes to your career,” notes Loren, who also employs journal coaching to encourage weekly web-based reflection on key career topics. It’s important to recognize that finding career happiness is a process. “Many people want to feel better right away. This is not a quick fix. However, those who fully engage from the start do see amazing results in all aspects of their lives, not just their jobs.” Those professionals who are wise enough to pursue career happiness report that they feel a deep inner confidence they never had before. They say they earn more money as a result, have better quality of health, and feel free of heavy burdens such as shame, guilt, anxiety, fear, and stress. “My clients tell me that other people comment on how good they look and behave. They say their families actually like to be around them more than ever. Some even report that their career happiness has worn off on others who are then inspired to engage in the same pursuit.” If you find that you’re playing small in your career, experience intermittent or ongoing distress in your work, or know you need to move in another career direction but don’t how, get help. Don’t settle for less career satisfaction than you deserve. Though this is often a taboo topic, it is vital to resolve whatever career issues you’re facing so you can avoid dragging this same baggage from job to job. If you’re ready to experience more happiness in your career, check out Loren’s upcoming Career Happiness webinar on June 9th, 2014.

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