Is it safe to assume that most of us work to earn a living? I think so. The majority of us sacrifice 8 hours a day in exchange for a paycheque. But, are we trading time and happiness, or just our time?
How many of your friends actually love their job? Probably a fair number. Typically, when people say they love their job, they actually love the financial reward. All too often, we tend to equate salary with career satisfaction and happiness.
This misconception begins with the job hunting process where job opportunities are measured in terms of compensation. Think about it, initial conversations are often salary-centric, and by the time you’re presented with an offer, it’s an offer of money, and not necessarily of happiness. This spotlight on money has led us to believe that the better paying job is in fact, the better job.
This confusion leads us to believe that large companies provide better jobs because they can afford premium salaries. It’s certainly possible to be happy working for a large enterprise. After all, working for a startup isn’t for everyone; some people don’t enjoy the fast-paced environment, constant change and lack of hierarchy. But, if these things appeal to you, then you probably belong in a small company where you’ll be happy, but underpaid by some standards.
Your first priority when choosing a job should be to ensure you will be happy in it. Sure, salary is important, everyone has a lifestyle to maintain, but more important is the team you’ll work with, the work you’ll do and the mentors that will shape you and your future.
A large part of happiness at work is determined by your team. If we don’t like or relate to our co-workers, or worse, we don’t have the opportunity to interact with them, we simply can’t form the emotional ties that release the neurotransmitters responsible for happiness. By choosing a company with a corporate culture that reflects your personal values, you’ll surround yourself with like-minded individuals and work will transform from a solitary 8-hour chore into an enjoyable social experience.
The projects we work on are equally important. There are many companies making a positive impact on the world through technology and otherwise. Making a difference is a truly rewarding form of motivation. You’ll find that the more direct impact you can have on the final product or service, the more satisfaction you’ll feel. Plus, it will leave you with that warm-fuzzy feeling of knowing you’ve made life a little easier for someone, somewhere.
People always say you can’t put a price on happiness, but I would argue we do so everyday we go to work unhappy. The next time you’re considering a new job offer, consider it independent from salary. Will you work with an amazing team? Will you make a difference or just fill a piece of the puzzle? Will you leave the office excited to come back tomorrow? These are the questions to answer before you start seeing green. Don’t forget to put a price on your happiness.