Happiness Affects Job Satisfaction: Why You Love or Hate Your Job
Work is a big part of our lives. Mostly because we spend a lot of our waking hours doing our job.
Some of us are motivated by our work. Others are content. And then you have those that are either just tolerating it, or are downright miserable.
Why do some people love their jobs while others hate it? Surprisingly, it might be less about the job itself, and more about how happy you are with your life.
The Relationship Between Happiness and Your Job
Here’s the question.
Will a good job make you a happy person? Or do happier people just love their jobs more?
Research shows that the relationships between happiness in life and at work is a complex relationships. It’s also a two way street.
That means that happier people find more satisfaction with their job. But if you have a great job, then that can also make you a happier person. But that doesn’t mean that they affect each other equally.
Researcher Nathan Bowling found in his study that happiness has a stronger effect on your job satisfaction than the other way around:
…results suggest that if people are, or are predisposed to be, happy and satisfied in life generally, then they will be likely to be happy and satisfied in their work.
Don’t Try to Find Happiness Through Your Job
Say, for whatever reason, that you’re not 100% happy with your personal life. Can you find comfort or happiness by pursuing your professional career or achievements?
It might be a temporary distraction, but that’s about it. Nathan says this:
…the flipside of this finding could be that those people who are dissatisfied generally and who seek happiness through their work, may not find job satisfaction. Nor might they increase their levels of overall happiness by pursuing it.
Should you try to find a great job? Of course you should. Finding meaningful work can affect happiness and performance. So it’s important, but probably not the most important thing in life.
Another recent study found that even when people found little meaning from their work, that they were still motivated at their jobs. Why? Because that crappy job allowed them to be a dependable family member that could provide. Something the researchers called “family motivation”.
Additionally, thinking that you’ll find happiness through the perfect job, the perfect girlfriend/boyfriend, or the perfect life circumstance can set you up for major disappointment. Even depression.
If you somehow lose that job your identity will be shattered and your self-esteem, value, and worth will plummet.
Why Work Life Balance is Important
Sure, you need to work to pay the bills. But working is more than a necessity. It’s a part of our identities. It can give us purpose. A sense of pride and accomplishment. And if we’re lucky, a sense of fulfillment.
But there are a slew of studies that have found how our personal lives can affect our job satisfaction and even job performance. It makes sense. If we’re happy with how our life is going, those positive emotions and motivations spill over into other aspects of our lives.
One study found that improving your sex life had a positive effect on work engagement and satisfaction. But again it’s a two way street. The researchers also saw that people who brought stress home from work had a negative affect on their sex life.
Proving that boosting your life’s happiness in one domain affects job performance. And failing to unplug from your job has negative consequences for your personal life.
When it comes down to it, our personal life has a stronger effect on happiness than our professional life.
Happiness at Work
Not every job is created equal. Their are definitely bad jobs, horrible bosses, and annoying co-workers.
If work feels stagnant, there’s no motivation to learn new skills, and you just feel “ho-hum” about your current job, maybe it’s time for some much needed reflection. Is it really your job, or are there other areas of your life that you’re not 100% satisfied with?
There are a lot of moving parts to happiness. And finding balance between work happiness and life happiness will not only motivate you, but also make you more resilient in the face of adversity.