While half of American workers report overall job satisfaction, the challenge is that chasing happiness is an elusive goal. It is an ephemeral feeling that can lead to disappointment once it slips away.

When your main goal is happiness at work, it can lead to problems, such as toxic positivity. The pressure to appear happy, even when you are not, is stress and anxiety-inducing, which can take a toll on your mental and physical health.

When it comes to your job and career, seeking meaning and purpose may be more beneficial and fulfilling than solely focusing on trying to be happy.

Finding Purpose and Meaning

First, you must start by figuring out what your core values are and determining what’s important to you in a job. Think about how your occupation can positively contribute to society, your local community and the lives of the people around you.

You also want to be passionate about your job. You should possess the requisite  experiences and abilities to succeed in the role, as it’s helpful to work from your strengths and not your weaknesses.

An important characteristic of humans is that we crave purpose, which plays a large part in having a fulfilling life, according to Psychology Today.

By pursuing meaning and purpose in your job, you’ll feel that you’re working toward a greater cause and mission. When you feel that you are on a mission, work doesn’t feel like drudgery. This mindset will energize you and provide inner joy and satisfaction from doing something important. A meaningful career can improve your overall mental health by providing a sense of fulfillment, connection to others and a reason for being, which positively impacts well-being.

Having a sense of purpose can help you persevere through setbacks and obstacles. It will give you the mental toughness to build resilience and the ability to take on challenges.

Employees who find meaning in their work are more engaged, committed to the cause and likely to stay within their roles, leading to higher retention rates and improved performance, according to research from BetterUp. They are more likely to be promoted, occupy leadership positions and have opportunities for advancement within their organizations.

Having a sense of personal fulfillment through meaningful work extends beyond the workplace, positively impacting various areas of life and contributing to overall happiness.

A Little Bit Of Both

You will want to strike the balance between experiencing happiness at work and finding purpose and meaning in your profession. While happiness is certainly important for overall well-being and job satisfaction, it shouldn’t be the sole pursuit. A career that provides a sense of purpose, aligns with your values and allows you to make a positive impact can be incredibly fulfilling, even if the day-to-day work isn’t always filled with moments of happiness.

However, if you are always unhappy and frustrated at work, it’s a recipe for failure. Since you spend so much of your time working, it’s important to find roles and environments that are relatively rewarding and positive experiences overall. This requires seeking out work that engages your interests and strengths, provides a reasonable level of work-life balance, aligns with your ethical principles and allows you to grow while contributing something valuable.

Don’t just chase happiness as a fleeting emotion, but cultivate a deeper sense of meaning, mastery and connection to something larger than yourself through your work. With that as a foundation, you’re more likely to find enduring fulfillment and satisfaction.

The ideal work scenario is to blend happiness and purpose, work that you find inherently enjoyable and rewarding while also making the world a bit better in your own unique way. It’s a delicate balance, but one that’s worth striving for over the course of your career journey.

Source: Forbes

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