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Your Take: Are You Happy At Your Job?

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Free LemonadeYahoo HotJobs recently published a list of the top ten happiest jobs and, surprisingly, professional blogger did not make that list. Who did? Clergy took the top spot with a reported 67.2% “very happy,” far exceeding numbers two (firefighters, 57.2%) through ten (airline pilots and navigators, 49.1%). In addition to listing the percent “very happy,” they also listed salary for someone in that role with 5-9 years of experience. The highest paid were #7 science technicians with a median salary of $72,435 and the lowest paid were #3 travel agents with a median hourly rate of $14.23 (or ~$28,000 if you assume a standard work schedule).

There isn’t much you can take away from lists like this, except we can ask ourselves how happy are you? I’d say I’m about 70% very happy. I get to set my own hours, I get to work on my own projects, and I get to reap the fruits of my labor. The 30% unhappy goes to how I have to figure out what projects I’m working on, I suffer the consequences of poor decisions, and I have limited social interaction with other people.

One interesting thing is that my stress is a little different. Before, I’d be stressed out over presentations to clients and whether I’d screwed up. Now, I’m stressed whether I’m making the right strategic decisions; decisions that won’t prove right or wrong for months.

How about you? Are you happy at your job? How many percent and what affects it either way? Would you trade less happiness for more money (or vice versa)?

(Photo: tinfoilraccoon)

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9 Responses to “Your Take: Are You Happy At Your Job?”

  1. David says:

    I hear you on the social interaction thing – it’s really the only part I don’t like so much about blogging full time!

  2. Steve says:

    It’s funny – I traded a corporate-politics-heavy and travel-heavy job for consulting, where I set my hours, have almost no responsibility and generally get to choose what I do… and I still don’t like it and I’d say I’m something like 20% happy. I’m not sure it’s a money vs. happiness thing, either – I’m not sure one goes up when the other goes down. I think the important thing is to figure out not what type of job structure makes you happy (hours, travel, etc.) – but what type of work you want to do. If the underlying type of work doesn’t suit you, you’ll never be happy.

  3. ChristianPF says:

    In corporate america I was not really happy. Working for myself, now that makes me happy. Freedom is something that is worth a lot more than some people realize.

  4. Aya @ Thrive says:

    I once had a conversation with a friend about this, and we’re both the type that want to have a job we enjoy even if it meant we wouldn’t be as financially stable as we’d like. We’re willing to compensate for happiness. She has a friend who is the complete opposite; her friend prioritized having a stable income over happiness and considers work as work and questions if anyone is really “happy” at work anyway. My opinion is that people who are unhappy at work may be financially stable but its only to an extent. If they’re always moping and are clearly unhappy, I doubt any promotions will come their way. Additionally, people happy with their work will probably be motivated to make more of their earned money, and going to work isn’t a daunting task so they’ll want to work harder and earn more money. I hope I can find a job that I’m truly happy at everywhere I go.

  5. Jessica says:

    I’d say I”m 90% happy. I think a majority of your happiness at your job depends on the following factors: 1. How well you get along with co-workers and boss. 2. How well you feel you are being compensated for the work you perform 3. How well you personally feel you perform. 4. How well you feel others perceive that you are performing (i.e. positive feedback on your performance vs negative) 5. Freedom (i.e. to take vacations, not work on the weekends, find another job if you get bored etc)

    I also feel like some people would most likely be happy no matter what they are doing (myself included) and likewise some people’s attitudes in general cause them to be miserable and unhappy no matter what good comes their way.

    As I see it, I could be laid off from my high paying contractor position tomorrow and become a dog walker/baker/nanny for $10/hour and I’d probably be just as happy. I like making a lot of money right now as a way to get ahead but I also like animals, being outdoors, baking and children too. The decrease in pay would be an inconvenience but I’d like to think I’m savvy enough to be able to live on that. Plus I know I could happily work several jobs to support myself if I had to. I did it college and never felt like I was missing out… in fact I probably had just as much fun as I do now.

  6. I realize that the survey wasn’t about the percentage of happiness for the individual, but it is an interesting thing to ponder…

    I am about 70% happy at being a professional artist. The 30% unhappiness is more frustration, and comes from the struggle to figure out things I don’t know about running a business and the difficulty of finding balance in every way (between long-term and short-term plans, between home and work, between various projects).

    I moved from a high-paying career to one at which I am not yet completely able to support myself, but I am happier at this career, and I am far more appreciative of every penny I make. And I find that my main complaint now is that I am not able to work ENOUGH hours in the day…

    (My previous career in television was about 50 percent stress … most of it probably unnecessary… 25 percent normal job-ness and about 25 percent really cool experiences. But it took a lot of time, and I wished fiercely that I had more time for my own pursuits. But all things considered, I was very lucky to have that career, and I don’t think I would have ever found this path if I hadn’t walked down that one first.)

    (p.s. I very much enjoy your blog… don’t think I have ever commented before, so let me say thank you.)

  7. Jim says:

    I’m probably around 80% happy. Good pay, good environment and I like the work fine. The things that reduce my happiness are a bit of corporate hassle and some annoying customers.

    I’ve found that having good management has a HUGE impact. About 3-5 years ago I was much less happy and the only thing that changed about my job was my management. Bad management can make any job a bad one and a good management can make a crappy job much better.

    Jim

  8. Like others, my feelings are mixed. I’m thankful to be earning a middle-class income (more or less) in a job that no longer requires me to work very hard. I’m sure glad to be doing something other than teaching, which had its wonderful moments but got old after 10 years. I hate driving and hate commuting and sometimes think that’s the worst part of the job: I have to force myself to remember that a daily hour or two of misery on the road is prob’ly worth getting paid to do not very much.

    On the other hand…boyoboy am I bored! I’m fundamentally entrepreneurial (as a matter of fact am busily constructing a new business on the side), and I’ve done about as much as I can do in creating the program I founded and putting it into action. Now I’m ready to move on to something else. If the damnable Bush economy hadn’t collapsed and erased a goodly slab of my savings, I’d be moving on to retirement–and possibly taking my entrepreneurial slant into volunteer work.

    I’d go for 95% happy with the KIND of thing I do, 20% happy with the actual job I’m holding down right this minute, 0% happy with having to keep a job at all.

  9. Flexo says:

    I’m usually fairly happy at my job. I work with good people and the work is stressful less than 100% of the time. I would rather be working for myself, however.


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