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Michael Stankavich

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What is the correlation between happiness and one's career choices?

Beyond the socioeconomic factors of not making enough money to support oneself or a family, to what degree does finding the "right" career impact overall happiness or satisfaction with life?

For instance, social scientists such as Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton have theorized there are diminishing returns in overall emotional well-being when one's annual income meets and exceeds roughly $75,000 (source: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2019628,00.html) (full scholarly article: https://www.princeton.edu/~deaton/downloads/deaton_kahneman_high_income_improves_evaluation_August2010.pdf). If money was not an issue, to what degree does one's career choices impact one's overall emotional well-being?

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Closing Statement from Michael Stankavich

Based on everyone's input, I've concluded that although there is a correlation with happiness (emotional well-being) and one's career choices, the true correlation is founded upon what Henry described as "progress and fulfillment." While there certainly are significant consequences with relying on a career alone to attain fulfillment (e.g. the risks of unemployment and career dependency), it does appear that finding a fulfilling career can boost one's happiness in the short-term (e.g. being employed can help break up the monotony of life and can help foster a sense of purpose, progress, and fulfillment). However, in the long-term, it seems that being able to live life without regrets (career-related or otherwise) is what leads to lasting happiness.

On the topic of to what degree does one's career choices impact one's overall emotional well-being, as Greg pointed out, considering that most of us spend at least 40 hours a week working, or roughly 30% of our adult lives at work, it could be argued that 30% of our overall emotional well-being is reliant on our career choices. Given that we spend roughly 30% of our lives sleeping, the remaining 40% of our waking lives outside of work plays a presumably larger role in our overall emotional well-being. However, there is also the "work-life" balance that we need to account for, which can greatly diminish out emotional well-being outside of work.

All in all, in addition to living a life without regret, happiness stems from finding the most suitable "work-life" balance. A balance which includes purpose, progress, and fulfillment. As startling as this proposition might appear, I strongly encourage everyone to check out this video on their spare time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOksW_NabEk (hopefully it will inspire rather than demoralize).

  • Apr 24 2014: In my opinion, there is direct correlation between happiness and one's carrier path. The whole of idea of carrier (work) is going in and actually working but if you do actually love your work it wont feel as work, so to speak.
    Words of Confucius:
    Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
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    Apr 27 2014: Hi Michael:>)
    I think/feel our career choices make a HUGE difference in contributing to happiness....or not!

    I have had several different career opportunities at different stages of the life adventure. Generally, I follow a path to what I love doing and it becomes lucrative. Being paid for what I love doing has been good, because it helps sustain me in the life adventure, and following my heart seems to have naturally led to income.

    We can go through the motions of "doing" a job, and/or we can be fully engaged in the process with creativity and genuine interest. I think/feel that if we are doing something we love doing, it brings more joy, enthusiasm, energy and passion to ourselves, those around us, and the whole experience. We are human "beings".....not human "doings":>)

    As a child, my mother taught me to do what I love, and/or love what I am doing. Therefore, I perceive the opportunities and benefits to "doing", while fully engaged in the moment of "being".....make any sense?
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    May 8 2014: Hi there.
    i love the question, because i am actually facing it everyday.
    You see, this all begins from childhood. If one's parents do not support or encourage their dream or vision, and actually succeed in suppressing it, the kid is left with alternatives, which may never satisfy his/her soul.
    I believe that there is a great difference between one's 'work' - purpose- and their 'job'- the alternative.

    In support to this great talk http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_smith_why_you_will_fail_to_have_a_great_career

    There is a greater chance that people who do not have or pursue their vision or their purpose, will remain unhappy or 'act' happy- which is even worse. But those that pursue their vision are joyous, because there is no better feeling than that of accomplishment. And only then do we talk of SUCCESS.
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      May 8 2014: Hi there Zuh Clinton Vetiealeh, and welcome to TED conversations:>)

      Good point to connect "success" to happiness and career choices. Of course, it depends on one's perception of success, and that is subjective. If one depends on making a lot of money or having material possessions, it may, or may not support happiness or contentment with the life experience.

      I share my perception of success with Ralph Waldo Emerson...
      "To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
      (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

      For me, happiness, career choices and success means to be fully engaged in the life adventure in every moment.....always.....all ways...with intent to learn, grow and evolve as an individual, while contributing to the whole:>)
      • May 12 2014: Very rightly said Colleen!
      • May 12 2014: Please do contribute your lovely thoughts on laywi (Life as you want it ).
        And we would love feedback from a well experienced ,happy soul.
        We have a face book page & blog on wordpress.
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    Apr 27 2014: I think that a person has to separate goals from purpose.

    I think the talk by Elizabeth Gilbert was good regarding purpose. But a person can align that purpose with a lot of goals.

    To your question I think that career choice can be made with goals in mind, but following your purpose within that field.
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        May 13 2014: Except you would not be able to say all things are equally important.
  • Apr 27 2014: People get bored. Males get more bored than females. The young get more bored than the old. "The correlation between happiness and one's career choices" is how unrepetitive the work is and our sex and age.
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      Apr 27 2014: .
      Yes!

      Boring ---- no a-step-better for keeping our DNA alive.
      (Happiness ---- a-step-better for keeping our DNA alive.)
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      May 12 2014: "Males get more bored than females"? Says who?..

      There is a stereotype (don't know if it's true) that women have more patience than men - but even if it is true - it does not necessary mean that they are less bored, they might be just better at hiding their boredom.
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    Apr 27 2014: One of my favourite quotes ‘find something you love to do and you’ll never do a day’s work in your life’ leads to me to feel that one’s career is a major contributor to happiness.

    To use the word ‘career’ in the question assumes a certain viewpoint as opposed to the word ‘job’ (not the same).
    The definition of the word career helps I think:
    Noun
    1. a path or progress through life or history
    2. a profession or occupation chosen as one's life's work
    3. ( modifier ) having or following a career as specified: a career diplomat
    4. a course or path, esp a swift or headlong one

    — verb
    5. ( intr ) to move swiftly along; rush in an uncontrolled way

    [C16: from French carrière, from Late Latin carrāria carriage road, from Latin carrus two-wheeled wagon, car ]

    I believe that life and career are inextricably linked, I agree with ‘Nobody but me’…not least because it usually accounts for most of our waking activity..depending on which career of course. The definition as ‘chosen path’ makes it resonate with the nature of happiness. There is a huge difference when people find their dream job and see it as a career, that’s very special. I love my job and it resolutely contributes to my happiness… my career too.. ‘the journey’, requires me to learn constantly as I experience it. I’m a great believer in everyone deserving to do what they love to do and would say the same thing to every member of my school.
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    Apr 24 2014: .
    Be careful of Invalid Happiness.
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      Apr 26 2014: What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

      Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform. If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational – but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free.

      Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. For example, you may check the stove twenty times to make sure it’s really turned off, wash your hands until they’re scrubbed raw, or drive around for hours to make sure that the bump you heard while driving wasn’t a person you ran over.

      Please get some help W. Ying
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        Apr 27 2014: .
        Dear Keith,

        Thank you very, very much!
        I am very sorry that I did not express myself clearly.

        What I mean here is:

        (1) Valid happiness is the short-time feeling of things being a-step-better
        . . for keeping our DNA alive.
        (2) Invalid happiness is the short-time feeling of things being pseudo-a-step-better (actually a-step-“worse”)
        . . for keeping our DNA alive.

        (Invalid ---- out of the scope of the validity of our instincts)
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          Apr 27 2014: I am not qualified to help you Ying but there are people who can help you, if you want help. If not, just go on annoying most people you come in contact with.
  • Apr 23 2014: Stankavich, you should choose a job you enjoy regardless of the money, status, or fame or any other attribute that is not directly related to the job. The reasons for choosing a job based on your enjoyment is because it came from your self. A job or career is personal. The profession you choose might be something you want to do for the rest of your life. Ask yourself what you like about the job and why? You will be satisfied if you choose a job or career that actually interest you beyond the financial benefits or any other benefit not directly related to you.
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      May 12 2014: ...except, if there are no openings in that career. Maybe, you want to be a commercial whaler in Japanese waters - in this case, you need a reality check.
  • May 22 2014: The connection is not with happiness and your career path. The connection is between progress and fulfillment.

    The human being wants to feel successful. We want to feel like we are growing and doing well. A good career will empower you. That's why we link happiness with it.

    However, this is dangerous. You should not be getting your fulfillment from a job, unless you obtain it merely from working. If you lose that job it may impact you in extreme ways.

    Many professionals, after losing their long-held positions at top companies, said they were totally lost. They had become totally identified with their professional position.

    Do not become totally consumed by the identity you need to fit into at work. That identity should be left at work. It is not needed in family life or most other places.

    Happiness comes from true fulfillment. You need to become aware that you already have everything you need to be happy. Sounds like hippie rubbish, but I assure you it is true.
  • May 19 2014: If your career brings in buttloads of money, you've only got yourself to blame for unhappiness, since the primary source of misery around the world--material insufficiency, has been dealt with. I have no sympathy for the well-off and miserable.

    Let me put it this way: I would rather be rich and miserable than poor and miserable. At least when I'm rich and miserable, I don't have to choose between eating every day and paying for my electricity.
  • May 18 2014: In my opinion, choosing the right career choice has more impact determining one's overall emotional well being. Our society is greedy whether it is acknowledged or not. Social structure blindly pushes us to desire external things (money, houses, cars, diamonds, yacht) to give a display or to visualize what happiness is. A question I would ask is if you can see happiness in anything other than yourself (things you can touch), and if so, what is the difference between that happiness and your own internal happiness(just the feeling ).
    It is easy to describe the first happiness (Things you can touch) as a distraction from everything else going on in life or a pseudo-happiness that allows a temporary release of bad emotions because you now have something that you like... Working, having a job to make money, to buy what you like and to get the bills paid (EXTERNAL) but you hate what you do. If all of those things that you had to pay for did not exist, how would you define your happiness then? There would be nothing left to materialize the essence happiness. However, the difference comes into play when nothing else matters but the levels you want to achieve in your career and feeling the success received for the goals achieved by the choices you made (INTERNAL)... Basically, what I'm trying to say is that true satisfaction and happiness of career choices comes internally through personal set goals and achieving them through working with something that identifies with your persona. Internal happiness is not the only kind of happiness but its the most durable and effective happiness. Work becomes a hobby if it's something that truly makes you happy.
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    May 9 2014: So many events can impact on work happiness, it is not so much about chossing the right career as being in a good organisation. I think most people would agree that management and colleagues are an important factor in whatever you do with your working life. However, probably the most important thing is earning enough money to support your chosen lifestyle, the two go hand in hand do they not? Education facilitates choice in the first instance.
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    May 7 2014: I have never been able to find a balance, as lack of money in general has dictated my entire life. The struggle to find enough money just to pay the most essential of bills is a massive daily struggle for me. I can't understand how the human race has managed to produce a world with this level of technological sophistication and yet so many people so massively struggle just to get enough to even live the most basic of existences.

    I believe a resource based economy is the only real way forward, but also I believe in the Singularity (my Ted talk), but I also think we all need to wake up to what work really is, most work could be eliminated if we had all realised a long time ago, that the pyramid scheme we have all been forced to join in with, is simply speaking, a very bad idea.

    The selling of ones self by the hour is a working class delusion, that keeps most of the people at the bottom poor. The very well educated in general, see career choices, the poor ask what crap job will I be forced to take next. Most people don't make career choices, they make economic choices, based on their socio-economic circumstances.

    My problem, like many others I believe, is I keep believing that if I gain enough knowledge, then it will help me get further on in life, economically speaking, but the truth of it is, it just makes me more aware of the crap I'm in (sorry for the language).

    At a certain socioeconomic level you begin to realise, just how much has been done to keep you at that socioeconomic level. My mind took me all the way from a mundane factory job, to talking to one of the most important intellectuals alive, but this cuts no ice, when it comes to my earning potential, within my local socioeconomic environment.

    Smart = nothing in terms of earning potential, short sighted ruthless capitalistic greed = winner usually at least in financial terms within our society (in general). Shame really but does go to show why the world is mostly the way it is.

    Just my 2 cents.
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    May 6 2014: Thank you all for your valuable input, as I am truly interested in everyone's perspective on this topic.

    Overall, one of my most recent lifestyle dilemmas pertains to whether career choices should ultimately be decided upon whether it brings happiness or a greater sense of satisfaction, even if such career choices do not provide socioeconomic mobility. In other words, is it worth potentially sacrificing overall happiness and satisfaction via a career that provides more socioeconomic mobility, which theoretically allows for one to pursue their passions in life outside of their career?

    For example, several friends of mine are musicians, artists, and freelance creative types (journalists, web designers, photographers, etc.). While these career choices have provided them a great deal of happiness, satisfaction, and well-being, the one thing that they lack is financial stability. Given the fact that most of them have student loans, mortgage/rent, car payments, and a whole host of other debts, their dreams are starting to become a socioeconomic nightmare.

    On the other side of the spectrum, many of my friends (and myself included), have "sold out" and pursued careers that don't necessarily align with our passions in life. While these career choices can be quite stressful, monotonous, and just plain unpleasant, the socioeconomic mobility allows for us to do more with our lives outside of work. The problem is that there tends to be a "bleed-through" effect where one ends up taking their work, and stress, home with them. However, financial stability is also a significant stressor, particularly in the case of my freelancing friends.

    All in all, I believe that there might be a happy medium. The problem lies within finding that balance in one's life.
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      May 6 2014: I wholeheartedly agree Michael...it is about finding balance...or perhaps CREATING balance in one's life:>)
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    May 5 2014: I think you have to choose the career what you love, because if there's love, you don't work, you enjoy. Money's consequence of a good professinal.
  • May 3 2014: Money I feel is just a symbol, no matter how it manifests itself, if you are in a job merely for a symbol I do believe there should be a challenge to your rational.

    If you look at money on a more mundane way the way that you provide it to purchase something that you want or need it shows that you want or need it. But as humans we need far more then just materialistic goods and this goes back as far as Mayo, were sociable so we need people around us. How do we treat the people around us through gifts aka in the direct form of money or indirectly in the things that they buy. Surplus to this we need actualization, Maslow another great theorist was right in suggesting that once we get past the ability to actually exist we need social interaction and surplus to the we need to live, actually feel. So it's not the money that is the issue here it is just what it represents to truly benefit in life you need to do what you want to do, and if money comes from it well youll be in a much better situation. I think thats what Kahenneman was suggesting, money can get you so far as it's just a symbol of success but after a certain point the over exposure to it we become complacent and it just won't create the same buzz with our increased exposure to it.
  • Apr 30 2014: If money were not an issue, I'd be playing for a living. No more of this administrative crap I have to put up with. It would be benchwork, analysis, and writing all the time.
  • Apr 29 2014: Well, if there's a need to use the ridiculous expression "work-life balance", I'd imagine one might not be satisfied with one's career choice. It is absurd to separate "work" from "life" and the only thing I'm in agreement with is "balance", in other words "personal balance". One wouldn't be working if one was dead and the average person spends at least eight hours a day at work, which is a third of all the available hours; better make them count. If work sucks, then one better make some adjustments or stop complaining, try to do the best of the situation. This discussion obviously applies only where people have the luxury of choosing their profession.
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      May 6 2014: Agreed. By no means are my musings complaints insofar as I am simply trying to find a balance in my life. Although I am truly inspired by those who are "living the dream" and pursing careers that they truly enjoy, I'm stuck trying to figure out whether it is worth doing so, and taking risks when I have a life outside of the daily grind.

      All in all, I am truly grateful that I have a career that I can tolerate. It's not my passion in life, but that's why I have weekends and vacations.
      • May 6 2014: I hope you didn't think I was smacking you for asking as important a question as you did, because I wasn't. Sometimes words just come out quite, um, straight forward, when on "paper" and what I should have added was that I think everyone goes through ups and downs in their career, regardless of their individual levels of passion for said career. And if there's a down going on, maybe one could invest even more in the hobbies or perhaps try to think outside of the box, create new projects at work if possible, or maybe become a lifelong learner (there's always TED, Coursera, open universities, etc.)? I just think it's sad if people keep feeling bad for years on end, because then it's like they are basically waiting for retirement and eventually death. Sorry to sound so gloomy, but that's how some make me feel when they talk about work. Is there something you could do to improve your situation somehow? Maybe get together with friends from totally different fields, who might ask really "stupid" questions about your work, which might help you see it in a new light somehow? Changing careers is huge, sometimes necessary, but smaller adjustments might also work out.
      • May 6 2014: Forgot to post this talk:
        http://www.ted.com/talks/diebedo_francis_kere_how_to_build_with_clay_and_community

        What shines through is the sense of purpose, the feeling of being needed and of service. Maybe something rings a bell or two there?
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        May 12 2014: "Tolerate"? What kind of career do you have? Can't you make your work experience better/more tolerable by working for a different company, or by changing your hours, or by fine-tuning your role at work?
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    Apr 28 2014: In my humble opinion, I'd distinguish not between happiness and one's carrer choice, but between what one had choosed and what one really loves to do. If both concepts are coincidents, total happiness; if not, one will be something like a kind of slave all along the life.
    Or, one could try to love what has choiced, never it's too late.
    But, anyway, if our choice is jus what we llove, great matter, nice bussiness!!
  • Apr 28 2014: One of my professors said you have to be careful about your profession and your hobby. I think you have to like and love portions of your profession but your hobby you love but usually can not earn a living. I think it is important to choose a profession that you like or love portions of but can earn a living.
  • Apr 26 2014: There are quite a few unexplained terms here. First, what do you mean by happiness? Is "happiness" related to satisfaction with life? In what way? Second, what is the relationship between the labors we perform to sustain ourselves and "happiness?"

    We might choose to look back at Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics for some answers. For Aristotle, happiness or "eudaimonia" (which roughly translates into something like "flourishing" or "well-being") is the highest good of a human being. When we say it is the highest good, we mean that it is desirable for itself, it is not desirable for the sake of some other good, and all other goods are desirable for its sake. Aristotle then goes on to ask what the function of a human being is, and answers that it consists in the activity of the rational part of the soul in accordance with "virtue". This account turns on his understanding of what distinguishes humans from other animals--namely, rationality (Humans have it, the other animals don't). In the end, Aristotle decides that happiness consists of the virtuous activity of the rational part of the soul over a complete life. However, Aristotle also notes that external circumstances can affect our ability to live a life of virtuous activity. He does state one's capacity for virtuous activity may be limited or degraded by things such as personal tragedy, poverty, etc. Given this, it is not altogether clear what role one's career might play in one's ability to live a life of virtuous activity. Perhaps it plays a role, but I do not believe that we can categorically state that it is determinate. After all, we should remember that Socrates was a stonemason, Jesus was a carpenter, and the Buddha didn't even have a job. Perhaps we should say that a career that limits our ability to live a life of virtuous activity is detrimental to happiness.
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    Apr 26 2014: It depends where you are on Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. If you are in poverty, any job that pays enough to live will make you happy - or at least ease the burden of worry. When you have a family, you need more money. If you are able to increase your earning to allow you to support your family, you will feel happy. If you rise to the Self-Esteem level, you will be working towards social approval for your work. If you gain this you will be happy. If you don't, you will feel unfulfilled.
    For those who achieve Self-Actualisation they will only work at things that fulfil them - so happiness / satisfaction will arise - whatever the monetary reward.

    At another level, the word "career" suggest a long term commitment to a profession or industry whereby an individual can work hard and be rewarded with promotion (increased salary and status). This does not always work in today's dog-eat-dog corporate world. Dedicated, loyal workers are picked off by psychopaths, selected for redundancy (due to their long service) by HR officers or over looked for promotion in favour of "fresh blood". If you want a career nowadays you need to ruthlessly promote yourself, undermine your colleagues and move on every two years to pastures new - thereby leaving any mess you've been responsible for behind. Onwards and upwards! If a person is prepared for this, they will no doubt be happy. If not, it will be the road to hell.
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    Apr 26 2014: I love this question!!!!

    I am grateful that my career all my life was perfectly suited to who I really am at my core..was perfectly suited to my gifts and abilities and was the perfect venue for these abilities. I understand that better now, at the age of 6, then I did when it was all unfolding. getting paid for doing what yu would do anyway is 100% core consensus and a precious thing.

    There is a wonderful school within the Buddhist tradition that John Cage often referred to with his term "infinite interpenetration"

    It means tat each of us is unique and that our uniqueness is critically needed "by the whole"..that we become fulfilled when our little unique essential self plugs into and finds its perfect fit "in the whole" and that each well fitted piece enriches the well being of the whole.

    The trick, of course, is how to orchestrate that or whether we can orchestrate that if earning a living is essential to securing food,& housing. Even if you have a glimmer of what would be most suited ( which I did) it is very diffcut to orchestrate that, to call that into being .

    I think for milennials who do not have the bountry and support us leading edge baby boomers had that will be expressed in entreprenurial endeavors and alternatives that are various forms of "self employment" rather than working for others.

    I see that in Maine where bright young people have returned after college and just invented industry out of whole cloth. Black Dinah Chocolates, 22 Vodka and Liquid Wireless are three examples of milennial start ups that are global and have created shared culture employment centers.
  • Apr 26 2014: It is foolish to say that there is only intrinsic value when it comes to happiness. Happiness resides inside of us but how can we maintain it and share it if we are dissatisfied with our surrounding? Happiness is a self-assessment. After knowing how your contributions will create growth to a distinct setting, your happiness cannot be denied. With persistance to achieve and meet goals, you use positive stress to increase levels of happiness. Monetary incentive is secondary.

    You shouldn't chose to work somewhere your efforts continually go undervalued, or a place your effort doesn't flow easily. You promote negative stress, and depreciate satisfaction. Both your time and the time of the organization, company, or business are compromised. Wherever you can expand your sense of belonging is where you should start and however you evolve from experience should mark the latter steps.

    Therefore, knowing yourself and where you belong through the talents you are given will ensure happiness more effectively than choosing a path for the money, title, or the opinion of others (which is a huge reason we have so many complaints in the 'happy' department). Choose your career because you love it and strive to be the best at it. Everything else is just background noise.
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    Apr 25 2014: well it has to have a major impact because it's what you spend 40 hours a week doing. I'm afraid I don't understand the question, Michael, you're thinking career choice could have no impact on happiness?
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      May 6 2014: Overall, I'm on the fence on this matter. I honestly think that career choices definitely can have a significant impact on happiness, especially considering that most of us spend 40+ hours a week at work. However, I also think that socioeconomic factors tend to blur the lines between finding the "right" career and overall happiness and well-being.

      This is why I wanted to hypothetically remove money out of the equation. If socioeconomic factors were not an issue, then to what degree would happiness and one's career choices be correlated?
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        May 6 2014: well, i would think they'd be hugely correlated, work is pretty close to being half your waking life, so if you were unhappy for half your waking life that would be very significant? I'm still not understanding where there is a question, Michael? You think you could be unhappy half the time and still overall be satisfied with life? Maybe you could be satisfied overall if it seemed like there was no way to be happier at work, or if it seemed like nobody was happy at work. But if you had the sense that there might be a way to be happier, or that some people were happy, then it would be hard to be satisfied overall?
  • Apr 24 2014: Many people (most?) don't spend their entire career working at the first thing they try, so there is no point in stressing about your future career. Que sera, sera.

    If you can find something you are truly passionate about, that is great. But the overwhelming majority of people have to accept being reasonably content at work rather than deliriously happy. The greatest satisfaction I ever got was running my own business, but that's not for everybody. The good news is that because I turned out to be quite good at it as well as enjoying it, I got both the things people strive for: interesting work and nice material rewards.

    Although your happiness is not totally dependent on your job, your job does account for a pretty substantial percentage of your waking hours, so you may as well find something to work at that you enjoy.
  • Apr 24 2014: just have to be very careful nobody will and is happy
  • Apr 24 2014: it is your own choice on what you decide in life, nobody is perfect even if they say they are, lack of knowledement
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    Apr 24 2014: If your happiness depends upon superficial, external things, then your happiness will likely be highly dependent upon your choice of career and the amount of money you earn. And even if you choose the "perfect" career for you, there will undoubtedly be ups and downs in your actual job - or lack of a job, so you will often be unhappy.

    However, if you come to realize that your real source of happiness, your real source of joy in life, is within you and entirely independent of external circumstances and situations, then you can actually be happy regardless of what your job is and regardless of how much money you earn and how much wealth you accumulate. And you can always be happy.