Adrienne BoettingerWednesday,8 April 2015
Over the past several weeks when leaving my day job, I’ve tried to reflect on what I’ve accomplished and the only thing I can come up with is that I didn’t punch anyone. As accomplishments go, that’s not the most inspiring. It’s not just that this job isn’t what I dreamed of doing when I was a little girl. Sadly, I never fulfilled my calling as a gymnast/Supreme Court Justice/teacher/Wonder Woman. It’s that with each passing day, my expectations lower a bit more to the point where I’m almost tripping over them.
The truly disheartening part is that I’ve got so much miserable company — nearly every person I speak with lately describes the way they spend the bulk of their waking hours as torturous. For the 8th year in a row, the non-profit research group Conference Board found that less than half of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs. So where can we find happiness and still make a living?
A study by the University of Chicago found the most satisfying jobs involved caring for, teaching, and protecting others — creativity was also a major factor in terms of job satisfaction. Other factors that I’ve observed as contributors to job happiness include being able to see the impact of your work, feeling that your contributions matter to a team, being a part of a team where people care for each other and contribute to the group’s success, and not being locked in a damn, windowless cube farm for hours upon hours.
So the real question becomes — when is enough, enough? When is it time to move the hell on and how the hell do you know what you should move on to? I’m feeling an increasing urge to sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world; I just don’t know what my yawp sounds like and over which rooftops would be most ideal (and yet also allow me to also pay my mortgage and various and sundry bills).
What does happiness in one’s job look like and how do you know when you’re actually there? Looking back at the jobs where I’ve been the proudest of what I’ve done and the most excited to get to work, those have also been the ones where I’ve been the most stressed, exhausted and had the least social of social lives. Is there a happy middle? And if so where?