My reasons to be happy at work

People have reasons to show up and work. Many of them do this out of necessity to sustain themselves and family. Fewer of the many do this out of love and happiness.

Are you a happy worker?

No, I am not going to separate the tycoons and the ‘peasant’ employees. I’ll just call them “workers”, because, regardless of what our position is—owner or employee—we are still working. Many owners aren’t happy, but many employees are, and vice versa. It’s not a guarantee that being an owner guarantees happiness and being an employee guarantees misery. It doesn’t work that way.

At least that’s what I’ve learned from a colleague. “It’s not entirely wrong to be a nine-to-five employee. You can potentially have a very organised and structured life, which is good if you have a family or are living in a place where quality of life prevails.”

He continued, “Being an employee could provide you with opportunity to grow other skills and nurture your other passion, which could save you in the future.”

I nodded, enlightened.

I’ve always wanted to be a happy worker. Many said it’s not the destination, but the journey. You can’t work to be happy. You have to be happy to work. Under that philosophy, it might be necessary to maintain a hardcore persistence in thinking that I’m having a happy life (and work, in this matter). But does it have to be that way? Can we be happy naturally?

Reading a book on work happiness inspires me a bit, but I was wondering, how can people be so optimistic? Maybe I am too pessimistic. I am not sure.

I’ve been thinking that someday, the happiest job will land. Please note, though, that it does not mean that I haven’t had a happy job before. I have, it’s just a wishful thinking for the better ones. It’s what keeps me—and others—searching. Moving on from one company or venture to another. Sometimes with calculations, sometimes just based on guts.

Being happy at work means many things to me. For one, it means that I feel recognised. My ideas are, if not all, used and put into context. People trust my actions and ideas. I feel granted with actualisations. If my ideas are continuously rejected, it can be my fault. But if it continues to happen for some other reason, it puts me into an isolation, a realisation that I’m not capable of anything (and hoping that the future brings better luck).

Another sign that I am happy at work is I feel secure. Most probably this won’t work for those who don’t believe in “comfort zones”, but it definitely is a factor for me. In its apparent form, it manifests in protective measures such as a good physical workplace, good access to it, better medical and educational benefits, and the possibility to be a permanent employee in a relatively short time.

Feeling recognised and secure won’t work without being able to grow. My third reason would let me to kind of ‘traverse’ or explore possibilities outside of my “comfort zones”. Moving on to other companies have not been my priority for this kind of exploration. I would want to try a bit of new things and feel trusted and comfortable with it. A clear career path would be a plus factor, too.

The final factor of work happiness for me, is none other than a chance to travel. Naive as it may sound, it is something I’ve always wanted to do. In my last job, I was able to travel a bit, both in Indonesia and outside. True, people say business trips are worse compared to leisure trips, but if the job allows me to travel, it gives me two points at once: personal learning and personal learning.

Yes, if it’s not for leisure, then make it a great deal of learning for yourself.