If you think you’d be be happier in a role with a more prestigious job title, a bigger salary, or in a higher profile organization – think again.
In his book ‘Stumbling On Happiness’ (Knopf 2006) Harvard Psychology professor Daniel Gilbert argues that we aren’t always very good at predicting what will make us happy or how long that happiness will last. We expect positive events such as getting a promotion or passing an exam to make us happier. Often we are disappointed.
Matthew Killingsworth (www.trackyourhappiness.org) has found that happiness at work could depend more on our moment to moment experiences such as our interactions with colleagues, the tasks we do each day and our daily commute, than on longer term conditions such as our salary and/ or our job title.
If you are currently thinking about changing career or looking for a new role the research suggests that you need to take the time to look beyond the job title and the salary. Make sure you understand what kind of work you’ll be doing on a day to day basis. We all have some tasks we like doing more than others but to be happy at work we need every day to be doing something we actually enjoy.
What does this mean for you? If you are thinking of changing jobs find out as much as you can about the culture and about what it’s really like to work in the organisation. Know whom your colleagues, clients and suppliers will be. You could be spending many more hours with these people in a week than with your family and friends.
Many organizations now provide potential new hires with an opportunity to meet the wider team; make the most of any such opportunities, talk to as many people as you can and ask some good questions about the culture, the personalities and the working conditions.
To find out more about what makes you happy at work, and to take part in the research go to Matthew Killingsworth’s research project at: www.trackyourhappiness.org