4 Tips to Controlling Future Career Happiness

Published: Sep 06, 2011

Topics: Job Search       Workplace Issues       

During the economic downturn, there were many workers who put career mobility on the back burner. Now, as the country slowly begins to rebound, more professionals are beginning to think about their future happiness.

man and woman standing, business peopleWhen it comes to finding happiness in a job, workers need to have tangible goals in order to be realistic about how they can manage their careers.

Don't obsess.  June Gruber, co-author of the recent study "A Dark Side of Happiness? How, When and Why Happiness is Not Always Good," found that workers who were preoccupied with career enjoyment were actually more dissatisfied with their jobs than those who concentrated on their career aspirations. The study found that the more people strived for happiness, the more likely they were to become disappointed and not happy with their jobs.

Be clear.  One of the most important ways workers can control their career happiness is to have a clear and concise vision of their future, according to Steve Langerud, director of professional opportunities at DePauw University. Workers need to be specific about what they want out of a job, including control, mobility and location. Developing an action plan will also help workers focus on what they need to do to achieve those goals.

Don't go it alone.  Langerud said that workers who involve their family, friends and colleagues in their decision making are often times more happy than those who feel they have to go it alone. In addition to their inner-circle, it is also important to include supervisors in their plan.  Professionals should talk with employers about how they can contribute to the organization's overall success.

Be passionate.  According to Peter Ubel, professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, the relationship between money and happiness is relatively small. Workers who choose jobs based on monetary rewards are often times not as happy as people who follow a career path that they are passionate about. Choosing a profession based solely on money can be one of the worst decisions people make. 

While money may not be able to make people happy, being happy can have an effect on how much money someone makes. A 2004 study by Forbes found that happy people actually tended to have higher incomes later on in life.  So, the saying – money can’t buy happiness is true, but the happier you are, the better your financial future might be. 

--Published Courtesy of Brafton