The 4 keys to being happy at work

Love what you do and you’ll never work a day, or so the saying goes. So how do you get that kind of job satisfaction?

Are you happy with your job?  If not, you’re not alone!

Last year about 12 million Australians worked an estimated 20 billion hours in paid employment.

Over a lifetime, an average Aussie woman can expect to spend around 38 per cent of her life at work. For men, it jumps to 50 per cent.

That’s a whole lot of precious time if you’re not happy in what you do.

But just what is it that leaves us feeling satisfied with our jobs?

“Love” – not money – is the answer, according to a Curtin University study of 17,000 Australian workers from every age group, state and territory.

Job satisfaction is not all about the money

Report author Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells says workers who were very satisfied with their jobs overall actually earned a lower average weekly wage than their less-satisfied counterparts.

“Obviously we need money to a certain point, and it can make us really unhappy if we don’t have enough to pay the bills – but after that point the benefit deteriorates or no longer exists,” Rebecca explains.

“Each extra dollar is likely to be related to working more hours, which is definitely going to impact on your life outside the office.”

The average wage of people who were “very satisfied” with their job was $1182 a week (around $61,000 per year).

People who reported being just “satisfied” had a higher average wage of $1267 per week, or $65,000 per year.

Who you’re working with, who you’re working for and what you’re actually doing each day is going to have a big impact on your happiness at work.

Flexibility, work-life balance and support are vital to job satisfaction

The work you do, the support you get from colleagues and bosses, the amount of flexibility in the role and your organisation’s management practices are more likely to make you happy than what’s in your pay packet.

“So who you’re working with, who you’re working for and what you’re actually doing each day is going to have a big impact on your happiness at work,” Rebecca says.

“It’s all about work-life balance. If you’re working any more than 40 hours a week you’re going to have trouble fitting in other things that bring you happiness and joy – like going out with friends for dinner, health and fitness, and spending time with your kids.”

Age (and location) makes you happier at work

Workers aged 70 years or older are three times more likely to be happy at work than their younger colleagues, the report says.

And those in remote areas are 10 per cent more likely to be satisfied than city workers.

Perhaps that’s why Tasmania rated the top state for job happiness.

And finally …

People employed in industries involving outdoor work were the most satisfied, with hospitality industry workers among the least satisfied of all.

A stint at landscape gardening, anyone?