6 Work Habits Of Deeply Happy Employees
I struggle with the idea that you can either have a job that offers a lot of personal satisfaction, or one that simply pays the bills but might be something you hate going to every day. It feels to me like happiness and money shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, but I do understand how it sometimes ends up that way. I am interested, both as an employee, a communication student, a soon-to-be post-grad, and a human being, what factors contribute to someone being deeply, intensely happy at their jobs.
I might say balance in the workplace leads to job satisfaction. My communication textbooks might say relationships in the workplace lead to it. My bank account would probably say earning a high salary. My body would likely say not being overworked, and having plenty of time to rest and recharge is most important.
But I wanted to see what people had to say – real people, who are really happy at their jobs.
I asked a group of happy, satisfied employees what habits lead to their happiness. This is what they had to say.
1. “I have a lot of freedom. But I asked for it myself. I wanted this responsibility so I would be able to work without being under someone’s watchful eye 24/7, so I worked really hard to prove myself. And I am glad I did because I’m so much happier. Work doesn’t feel like ‘work’ when you’re not always trying to impress the person standing behind you. I feel good about doing things my own way at my pace – my productivity had increased, but so has my overall mood.” – Kate
2. “I try to keep emotionally invested. I am fully invested in the company. So even though my job is low on the totem pole, I treat it as if I’m a higher-up with a really vested interest in the success of our company. I do this for two reasons. One: I hope to be a higher-up someday. Two: it prevents me from becoming apathetic, and separating myself from the management. My job is a job for a reason; I’m a part of the company too. It makes me feel happier and more satisfied to feel like we’re all on the same team.” – Julie
3. “I love my job, but I think that is because I make the job my own. I was originally hired for this position, but I kind of spun it into a job where my responsibilities are different and I took on other roles here. I was able to quickly hone in on my strengths, and then started saying to my supervisor ‘hey, can I work on this project in my spare time?’ which turned into something useful for the company and kind of created almost a whole new position for me. I think it is a good idea in general to take on your very own role in a company, go above and beyond, go outside of your job description, and try to be innovative in any way possible. If you have nothing but the academic and work qualifications and personality traits listed in the job description, you are pretty much replaceable by anyone else who comes in with the same experience. I made the job my own, and now no one can do it the same way I can. It gives me personal satisfaction, but also some job security, which is important these days.” – Joe
4. “I hear a lot of work/life balance, which I think is great, as I do firmly believe that life shouldn’t be 100% work. But I don’t like to say work/life balance. My work is a part of my life, and my life is a part of my work. I don’t like to compartmentalize too much and say ‘ok, from 9-5pm, I am work-me, and from 5pm-11pm I’m life-me”. I think it is okay to be work-me and life-me all at once. The balance should be a function of your job, not something that you hope comes along with it. I go to work knowing that my personal life is still happening around me. If my daughter calls sick from school, I’m out of there in a heartbeat. That doesn’t mean I won’t go home, lie her down on the couch, and work my ass off in the other room doing my work for the rest of the day. I suppose this is dependent on your job and lifestyle, but there is definitely room in one life to be fully invested in your job and your personal life, perhaps even at the same time. It isn’t work/life balance – it is life balance, and work is just a little part of that.” – Ashley
5. “I want to be good at my job. I have been working with the same people for so long, I feel secure, I don’t feel like I’m being watched like a hawk or like I need to prove myself. But I want my job to be something I can feel good about and proud of, and I want to keep learning how to do better. The most important thing for me, in work and life, is to not stop seeking knowledge, especially related to what I do for work. I’m always trying to take new classes, read new books, go to conferences – anything to broaden my understanding, or learn something new that could be applied to what I do day-to-day. Letting a job be just a job makes sense, and I get why people do that, but for me, I don’t think I’ll be satisfied as a person if I don’t feel very connected and invested in what I am doing for work. – Ryan
6. “The friends I’ve made at work are friends for life. We love our job because we all do it together, and it is important to all of us to do this thing as a team. I suspect the sense of camaraderie in the office is what keeps us all there, and all extremely satisfied day after day.” – Val
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