Happiness at work should not be your goal

Happiness at work should not be your goal

Happy good, unhappy bad.  Not too many people will challenge that.

But being not happy doesn’t mean you’re unhappy.

There are other non-happy emotional states that reward and fulfil the spirit.

People who love their jobs are often focused, aggressive, challenged, curious, anxious, attentive, reflective, perturbed, inspired, stressed, thoughtful, vigilant and zealous.  Distinctly not happy.

Why is this important?

Because much of the happiness focus is potentially mis-leading.

It’s not about being happy AT work, but being happy FROM work.

Contrast HAPPINESS: a feeling or expression of pleasure and contentment,


WORK: the virtue by which we create desirable situations that do not exist; or maintain desirable situations that are in danger of going out of existence.

Who is the more dedicated, productive, inventive and engaged worker?  The worker who is happy with the way things are, or the worker who wants to change it for something he or she wants?

Passionate work implies some degree of unhappiness with something and a strong desire or responsibility to change it into something better.

Expecting happiness at work will limit your achievements

Having people expecting to be happy at work excludes them from doing work that matters.  Why? Because much great achievement comes from doing, shitty, tedious, unpleasant and sometimes even dangerous work; the work that only the ambitious is willing to do.

Any thoughts? Contributions/acknowledgments welcome.