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Are you happy?
How you answer that question probably depends on what area of your life you think about first. Your spouse? Home? Children? Friends? Work?
For most people, work isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But a lack of happiness at work can have a huge impact. When you are unhappy at the office, that feeling overflows into every part of your life. On the flip side, when you are happy in your nine-to-five, that joy pervades every area of your life. Unfortunately, happiness can sometimes play a serious game of hide-and-seek.
I'm not telling you anything you don't know-at least not yet. We all know how difficult it can sometimes be to find joy at work, whether you're in a cubicle or a corner office. And we all know, in a vague, rainbows-and-butterflies way, that more happiness in the hallways at work would be good. But it's a little more serious than that. True happiness improves the bottom line-yours and your company's. Don't believe me? Research at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has shown that U.S. corporations with the happiest employees have a financial performance notably better than lower-ranked companies. Why is this? Common sense might offer hints, but other happiness research proves it: people who are happy function better, according to folks like happiness expert Alexander Kjerulf. Happy associates are productive associates.
And being happy at work is more important for you than most people think. Why? Because being happy at work is the first step in a sequence that leads to success. If you are happy at work, you become engaged in your work. If you are engaged, increased productivity, better results, and stronger relationships with your co-workers will follow. Happiness can not only skyrocket your career, but it can also transform your every workday. What's more, being happy not only affects your work; it affects your entire life in a positive way. Who wouldn't want that?
Not just working professionals. A positive psychology class nicknamed Happiness 101, taught by professor Tal Ben-Shahar, recently beat out Intro to Economics as the most popular course at Harvard, with more than 850 students enrolled in its last offering. In the last several years, positive psychology courses have popped up on over a hundred campuses around the country. These classes aim to better prepare young adults by teaching them that you do not just need the technical knowledge of how to move ahead in your career; happiness plays a significant role in your overall success as a professional and a person. And people want to learn how to get happy.