'Happiness and career progression are not mutually exclusive'

The lab-verified reality is that happiness brings us more success

'Happiness and career progression are not mutually exclusive'

Many people believe that career success will result in happiness and that having strong ambitions leads to fulfilment. However, psychological studies have shown that workers may have this the wrong way around.

Author of The Happiness Advantage Shawn Achor argues that while we may think success will bring us happiness, the lab-verified reality is that happiness brings us more success.

Recruitment expert Ineke McMahon said that basing career satisfaction on ambition and status purely for the sake of it might work for some, but it has been proven that happiness in the workplace is a key component to career progression and career longevity.

“Happiness and deriving meaning from our professional and personal actions has significant positive effects on our productivity and motivation,” said McMahon.

The importance of meaningfulness in driving job selection has grown steadily, particularly for Millennials, who are searching for jobs that offer a sense of meaning and provide work life balance, not just a pay-check.

“It can be easy to see your career as a number of checkboxes according to various levels of aspiration, but this approach to the workplace can result in burn-out and ultimately a lack of direction because there wasn’t any room left for finding meaning or happiness,” added McMahon.

“There is nothing wrong with having ambition, it’s a key step in obtaining goals, but it’s the reasons behind that ambition that are so important.

“More and more workers, particularly younger workers, are realising that work-life balance and happiness are just as important, if not more important than that next promotion.”

Moreover, a study by the Harvard Business Review has shown that inspired employees are almost three times more productive than dissatisfied employees.

“Annually evaluating your own decision making matrix and figuring out what’s important to you is a form of career self-care, because it can be easy to fall prey to our human programming that suggests – ‘when I get that promotion’, ‘when I lose weight’, ‘when I marry that person’ then I will be happy,” said McMahon.

“Happiness and career progression are not mutually exclusive, when we look for work that sparks happiness, whether we desire work that is stimulating, benefits communities or centres around creative thinking, the outflowing benefits occur in more than just our professional lives.

“This isn’t something that has to be done alone, finding training and support that can help you better understand your career goals is a great first step.”

Recent articles & video

7-Eleven repays $173m to employees, as stores improve payroll systems

Seven signs you're being underpaid – and how to ask for a raise

The nine 'levers' to pull if you're serious about inclusion

‘Blue collar bias’: Are you ignoring this worrying workplace issue?

Most Read Articles

New rules for workers as Melbourne lifts lockdown

Halloween: Six HR horror stories to read in the dark

COVID-19: How to build smarter employment contracts