82.000 Hours of Happiness.

We are spending more than 82.000 hours of our lives in our job or profession. The idea that it is probably better to be happy with our job is obvious. Why should we spend more than 40 hours weekly in a job that’s just frustrating if we have the choice? The question is applicable to every kind of job whether you are working in an office, as a teacher or professional athlete.

Enjoying our job means that it doesn’t feel like a burden (most of the time), we like to go to work, time is flying, we often have the feeling we get something important done and have made an impact. This applies to all kinds of jobs like working in an office, teaching kids, playing professional football or managing a business.

How people can be happy in their job is a topic of “Positive Psychology”. This part of Psychology is not about diagnosing and treating depression or other disorders but about how to make people’s life better.

According to Martin Seligman from University of Pennsylvania, one of the main figures in Positive Psychology, people are happy with whatever they are doing when the challenges exactly meet their biggest strengths. In this case we experience flow; we are “one with the music” as he is saying.

Most awkward and unhappy people feel on the other side, when their strengths are not needed in their profession or, alternatively, skills are required which are not (yet) part of their strengths. For instance a very creative person who likes a certain amount of chaos in her or his job, has to work as a clerk or tax accountant.

Which skills does your job require most? In the table below you can see the 24 character strengths which can be indentified:

Character Strengths_Pic_jpg

Figuring out your strengths is the next important step. The following link leads you to the homepage of the University of Pennsylvania where you can register and take different tests for free. The results are visible immediately.

Authentic Happiness – University of Pennsylvania, Testcenter

I recommend the VIA Survey of Character Strengths test of personal strengths (8th from the top), which will identify your 5 biggest character strengths. Just be warned, these are 240 questions, which you would have to answer completely if you want to get your results.

Comparing your test result with the requirements of your job might already bring you some insights, why you are quite happy or not so happy in your profession. Considering changes, further education or additional tasks to challenge your strengths can be a good start on the way to happiness!

Photo Credit: Visualhunt.com

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