Happiness At Work

I have the pleasure and privilege of introducing one of
my favorite bloggers who has kindly submitted an article for this blog. Alexander
Kjerulf a.k.a. The chief Happiness
Officer.

He just finished writing his first book titled Happy
Hour is 9 to 5 – How to Love Your Job, Love Your Life and Kick Butt
at Work. The book has been extremely well received all over the world.
David Maister called it “very, very good” and “extremely
well written.” But the praise that Alex appreciates the most came
from Anna Farmery, who said that “reading the book makes me happy
and gives me faith that we can create great workplaces.”

So without further Ado here is the article from Alex. Please
leave your comments if you enjoy the article and visit Alex’s blog to see more of his work.

Change
the way you think to be happy at work

Happiness at work is an emotion – an internal state. You feel it or you don’t.
In any case, it’s inside of you.

While it is certainly affected by what goes on around you (like when some inconsiderate
jerk takes the last coffee and doesn’t make a new pot) it mostly relies on
what goes on inside your head.

The old “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” applies
here as well.

And that’s why we must change our thinking about work. There are some traditional
perceptions, ideas and maxims that are holding us back from achieving truly
fulfilling and happy work lives. Many people and workplaces focus all their
efforts on changing the external circumstances at work – stuff like salaries,
bonuses, promotions, careers, perks, etc…

So we need to pay more attention to our internal mental processes
around happiness at work and change our thinkingon some key points. Here are
the most important ones.

From “Work is tough” to “Work is fun”

For the last 200 years, all through the industrial age, work has been perceived
as tough, unpleasant and hard. In fact, that’s why we get paid. And for most
of the industrial age, this was mostly true, with many jobs being hard, boring
or even dangerous.

Today, this is less and less so and there are many, many more interesting,
creative, fun, pleasant and happy workplaces to choose from. But none of this
will matter if we go on expecting work to be hard and rough – for the simple
fact that we tend to get what we expect.

Therefore we must change our thinking, and start expecting work to be fun.

From “You can’t be happy and successful” to “You can
only be really successful if you’re happy”

What is business success worth, if you’re not happy?

I have seen successful business people break down crying over the realization
that they have wasted large parts of their lives chasing money, fame and success
- while never being happy themselves.

It makes zero sense to sacrifice your happiness at work for success. It’s
just not worth it.

From “Success requires hard work” to “Success requires
happiness”

Interestingly, you don’t need to give up on success in order to be happy.
Studies show that happy people are more likely to be successful! Which
is hardly surprising when you remember that people who are happy at work
are also more motivated, energetic, likable, creative and productive.

From “Happiness at work is nearly impossible” to “Happiness
at work is easy”

Everything we need to create happy workplaces is easy to get and readily
available to almost any workplace in the world. It’s not about budgets,
mission statements, strategies or corporate policies.

Happiness at work comes from the simple things. From the things “you
and I do here and now”.

Anyone can do it!

From “Happiness at work is trivial” to “Happiness at
work is crucial”

Happiness at work is not a trivial little detail that we can leave to an overworked
HR department to maybe do something about. It’s not a side issue to address
once you’ve achieved the right salary, title and company car.

Happiness at work is crucial to your health, success and general happiness
in life and it’s the #1 factor that drives corporate success.

That’s why happiness at work needs to be at the very top of our priorities
- both for employees and businesses.

So considering the fact that happiness at work is crucial, easy and really,
really good for you… My question is: Are you happy or unhappy at work? Is
your workplace happy or unhappy? How does this affect you?

And if your workplace is not happy, what would be different if you and
most of your co-workers liked your jobs so much that you looked forward
to going to work almost every morning? What would that do for you and for
the company?

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