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By Eric Barker
November 20, 2014
IDEAS
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Should you follow your passion?

It may not be that easy unless we can all be athletes and artists:

Via So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love:

Chase money? Income doesn’t affect job satisfaction at all and job satisfaction affects income more than you might think. Happiness is only about what you earn when you get paid by the hour.

And money isn’t everything. There’s also sleep.

What topped the list of the most sleep-deprived professions?

  1. Home health aides
  2. Lawyers
  3. Police officers
  4. Physicians

So what should you do? Let’s look at the big picture.

Job satisfaction is key because work is often a bigger source of happiness than home, ironically. Enjoying our jobs has a great deal to do with how much control we feel we have and whether we’re doing things we’re good at. Social factors are huge too.

Happy feelings are associated with “the fulfillment of psychological needs: learning, autonomy, using one’s skills, respect, and the ability to count on others in an emergency.”

What do we know about the happiest and unhappiest jobs?

What makes for a satisfying job?

Using your “signature strengths” — those qualities you are uniquely best at, the talents that set you apart from others — makes you stress less:

You want to experience “flow”. It’s when you’re so wrapped up in what you’re doing that the world fades away.

There are a handful of things that need to be present for you to experience flow:

Via Top Business Psychology Models: 50 Transforming Ideas for Leaders, Consultants and Coaches:

  1. Clear goals that, while challenging, are still attainable.
  2. Immediate feedback.
  3. Knowing that the task is doable; a balance between personal skill level and the challenge presented.
  4. Strong concentration and focused attention.
  5. The activity is intrinsically rewarding.

And you want to be someplace where you’re treated like a partner — not an underling.

Via Gallup:

Any specific jobs to avoid? Lawyers are miserable.

Martin Seligman, psychology professor at UPenn and author of Authentic Happiness, clues us in as to just how unhappy lawyers are:

Job satisfaction isn’t just about your job. Try to make yourself happier: overall happiness causes job satisfaction more than job satisfaction causes overall happiness.

Happiness makes us successful – yes, that’s causation, not correlation. (Employers should try to make their employees happier too: happy employees make for rich companies.)

And unless you’re really desperate, you might want to think twice about settling. People with no job are happier than people with a lousy job.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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