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On work and happiness

I mentioned in my last post that many of us fall into our careers rather than stride deliberately along a path that leads, directly and logically, to the work we end up doing. If you go to medical school, chances are fairly good that you will spend at least some of your career as a doctor; if you read law, you’ll probably be aiming at a call to the bar and a career in practice. But outside of some of the professions, many of us forge a different relationship between our education or training and our careers, and may find that we build specific job experience upon a more generalist education background. As well, in these times of economic uncertainty, people find themselves changing jobs more frequently than ever, and more are choosing to work for themselves. A number of paradigms have shifted when it comes to the workplace, and it’s affecting all of us – sometimes in good ways, and sometimes in hard ones.

Whatever happens with the economy, far too many people are perpetually dissatisfied in their jobs. It’s become quite normal to assume that people hate what they do; think of all the jokes you’ve heard or cartoons you’ve seen that make the workplace sound like a dungeon, and workers like indentured servants who can’t leave because the world demands that we all make a wage. There are a lot of potential reasons for this discontentment, but two things are certain: our attitudes toward our work and our work futures play a big role in how happy we are; and sitting around waiting for things to “get happy” won’t get you very far.

Over the next few blog posts, I’d like to talk about a number of issues related to work and contentment – what we can do to determine what work we want to do; how we can get more out of work we already do; and what role our attitudes play in our work happiness.

What are your opinions on this? Do you love or hate your job? Are you doing what you really want to do? Tell me in the comments.