Ed’s been a city planner for 12 and a half years. He’s weathered the whims and demands of 14 different city council members, 23 different plan commission members and two mayors. He loves the team he leads and the idea of shaping the look and feel of the place he’s called home for 20 years. But his workload has become overwhelming as has the tension caused by clashing philosophies and conflicting directives from the top.
Last year Ed left 290 hours worth of vacation on the table. He averages 62 hours of work every week, he’s in his mid-40s and he’s lost 22 pounds, not from the workout regime he started last Fall, but from stress and under-eating. Ed often gets home after his young daughter’s fallen asleep, and his wife is getting increasingly concerned that her spouse is losing his health, his dreams and what matters most. Something’s got to give.
Unfortunately Ed’s scenario isn’t exactly uncommon. Research tells us that 80% of people are unhappy with their jobs. Yikes. Boo. Hiss. Puke! But take a moment and see if you can you imagine the opposite … the Bizarro World version of what would the world look like. What if instead, 80% of people loved their work?
Here are some possibilities, perhaps some dreams, for what my vision of this reversal of global order might look like:
- Heart disease would decrease because stress, anxiety and depression would be lessened dramatically.
- People would treat each other with more joy, care, kindness and respect.
- Life balance would be the norm.
- Innovation, optimism and creativity would explode, resulting in all kinds of new ideas, groundbreaking problem solving and inventions, and unparalleled cultural experiences and advances.
- People would feel more connected and eager to be around one another.
- Employers would become better leaders and managers and actively demonstrate how much they value their employees (in turn boosting innovation and output).
- Health care costs would plunge (work stress contributes to billions of dollars of work lost due to absenteeism and stress-triggered disease).
- The economy would flourish to the benefit of everyone.
- Crime rates would plummet (as they do when economies are strong for all its members).
- People would have greater wellness, spend more money, travel more and be more altruistic.
- Animals and the environment would be far better tended to (because economies would be more robust, allowing for smarter, more long-term and compassionate choices).
- Life would have a whole lot more spice.
In the Bizarro World, life balance would be the norm. Tree (Trie!) pose on my fave beach.
The Bizarro World is sounding pretty good! What would you add to this list?
If even just a few of these conditions were reality, think of what day to day life could be like for all of us. The popular adage of entrepreneur Jim Rohn states that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time around. Can you imagine if four of your five people (that magical 80%) loved their work and had the other qualities of happy people?
These characteristics include:
- Optimism and resilience.
- A desire to seek out new things, challenge themselves and master new skills.
- A joy of anticipation and savoring of the moment.
- The tendency to forgive others quickly and not harbor grudges or pass judgments.
- Serving for a purpose bigger than self-interests.
What would YOUR world look like with more happiness? Your career is a great place to start.
Happiness comes to some people more readily than others, and genetics plays a role. But, not every moment can or should be a happy one and not every job is going to make us want to wear our happy pants 24/7. We owe it to ourselves to try hard to find work we love, which will boost many aspects of our lives.
We have capacity to make changes in our lives that increase our happiness quotient a bit, a fair amount or exponentially. What can you explore to enhance your personal happiness?
P.S. If you think more happiness for you may involve a job change or career transformation, grab your copy of my free checklist called “Reimagine Monday: Your Exceptional Career Transformation Checklist.” It features the 24 essential outcomes you need for maximum career change success.