what’s happiness worth?


Most Americans hate their jobs. Think Office Space. Let’s present a strictly hypothetical situation:

You work 40 hours (Mon-Fri) at a cubicle-type job. The work is tedious, the interactions frustrating, and draining. Management is cracking down and becoming increasingly punitive and micromanagey. Your colleagues are quietly complaining at the water cooler and in whispers; morale is low. When you get home you (wrongly, of course) tend to take your frustrations out on your significant other and find it hard to focus on your schoolwork (as you do have aspirations beyond this desk job) or other hobbies and passions.

You have no emotional connection to your work. It depletes and exhausts you mentally. You are absolutely the “wrong fit” for this type of job and you know it isn’t serving your mind or spirit. Yes, It’s “easy” and bearable at certain times, and you get some downtime to play on the internet, you’re allowed your phone at your desk. You get paid decent wages (but not a lot) and have good health benefits, allowing you some basic financial stability. But bottom line: you HATE your job.


Let’s just say (hypothetically) you got an opportunity for a job that was less hours, odd hours (possibly weekends/holidays), and less pay. But, it was a job that aligned with your passions and interests, something you think you could really be happy doing, something that would allow you to use skills and knowledge that you already have. The decrease in working hours would allow you to spend more time on your coursework, thus allowing you to graduate from college sooner and work harder on your eventual goals.

If you had the (hypothetical!) support of your family or significant other, would you take a leap of faith into the “unknown” into a job that could fulfill and satisfy you, or continue to “play it safe” at the job you loathe with a passion? The economy is a reality, sure. But what about happiness? What about achieving something greater than just a bank balance and “stability?” What’s it worth?

As usual, I find great truth in Gabrielle Bernstein’s vlogs. I actually put off watching this video because I knew I WAS “dancing around the perimeter of who I want to be.” I’ve been looking from the outside in at people who have careers that I want, and live creative and satisfying lives. I need to think about what’s holding me back and make those changes happen now. Life is too short to be complacent. That may be fine for others, but I know it’s not for me, not anymore.

Please share your own thoughts & experiences on job (dis)satisfaction and career “leaps of faith.” x


One thought on “what’s happiness worth?

  1. Having been in the Navy since 2001 when I was 21 years old I can’t really give personal examples of taking leaps of faith, related to my job. I could say that joining the Navy was like that. Nearing the end of high school my parents urged me finish my Associate’s degree before joining the military; my high ASVAB score made me very attractive to the recruiters. I was looking at either (a) working and going to college simultaneously while incurring student loans or (b) joining the Navy and getting $40,000 for college after doing 6 years. I could also say each of my re-enlistments have been leaps of faith—each one being a chance to do something else but choosing to remain in the Navy to what will happen next.

    You described your job as “easy”. That’s how I see the Navy, and probably all other military branches, for many people who stay in until retirement—it’s easy. Literally all one must do to “make it” is follow the rules (and doing so imperfectly is good enough). It’s almost as easy as simply showing up to work each day, then just doing as told. That’s not how I roll, so I’m constantly living in the self-delusion that I can change the Navy (or at least my current command) for the better.

    You could look at your job as a means to an end. If it’s truly tolerable for the long-run, then endure it until you’ve gotten from it what you need. If asked, I could describe how I would want my life to go from this point forward. However, I’ve failed to make that an honest goal so my life-behavior is without direction or purpose beyond simply not being self-destructive or self-sabotaging.

    You also might be unnecessarily unhappy with your job due to society’s misplaced worth of one’s job and its role in one’s life. A job is chiefly for enabling survival. As an ancillary, it can provide a sense of worth and of accomplishment. But these things can come from anywhere else in life. I think too many people who are unhappy with their job ascribe too much responsibility to it—expecting it to do too much for them.

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