Just like the grass looks greener on the other side of the river, so is our perception of ‘the ideal role’ that we think would finally make us happy. Ironically, the more we try to find happiness at work or look out for work opportunities that appear promising, the more we stand the chance of being disillusioned. Perhaps this justifies the job-hopping trend of the present era. Not that people are unhappy at work but those who stick to their job have found other reasons to stay motivated, at least that’s what a recent study says. Let’s take a deeper dive to see why experts are discouraging a conscious effort to be happy at work.
André Spicer and Carl Cederström point out in their article ‘The Research We’ve Ignored About Happiness at Work’ the emerging trend of linking productivity with happiness at work. And they are not happy about their findings. They observed that “happiness as a way to boost productivity seems to have gained increased traction in corporate circles as of late. Firms spend money on happiness coaches, team-building exercises, gameplays, funsultants, and Chief Happiness Officers”. The writers express their doubts about how far endorsing a ‘happy work culture’ would really impact enhanced work abilities.
Their study reveals a hoard of interesting conclusions. They acknowledge the fact that “happy employees are less likely to leave, more likely to satisfy customers, are safer, and more likely to engage in citizenship behaviour” but it is their other story that gives us the surprising insight. Here’s what they share.
The two ultimate factors ‘job satisfaction’ and ‘corporate productivity’ are not necessarily co-related. A study focused on a case where job dissatisfaction among most employees had no effect on the company’s profit. This might be a one-off situation but this phenomenon does spark doubts. Secondly, by consciously scouting for happiness, one tends to “bring with it a heavy burden, a responsibility that can never be perfectly fulfilled”. So, you are caught in a paradoxical situation where you are depriving yourself from being happy by worrying about it.
Being in a happy mood at work might not derive great results after all. Many experts argue that how can you fight tooth and nail on the negotiation table while being in a happy and secured state of mind? Point to be noted, right!