Your Career and Your Identity

“Our wellbeing actually recovers more rapidly from the death of a spouse than it does from a sustained period of unemployment.”

Do you like what you do each day?

The essence of career wellbeing is attaining joy from your daily activities. Most adults spend much of the day at work. When you are there, can you do the things you love? When your work is enjoyable, it ceases to be work. Many supposed workaholics spend so much time at their jobs because nothing else gives them as much pleasure.

Unfortunately, only one out of five people like their jobs. Disliking your work negatively impacts your happiness, because career well-being is the most significant of the five happiness elements. A Swedish study confirmed a direct proportion between contempt for a boss and increased worker heart attacks.

In 1958, George Gallup’s research showed that career wellbeing is a major factor that helps people stay hearty and healthy into their 90s. Gallup interviewed hundreds of people aged 95 or older. At that time, most men retired around age 65, but the men who reached 95 did not quit their jobs “until they were 80 years old.” A whopping majority of them (86%) reported that working was fun. Work is enjoyable when you can employ your personal strengths on a daily basis. People who utilize such strengths find six times as much job enjoyment as other workers.

Many people suffer emotional tailspins when they become unemployed. Research published in The Economic Journal indicates that even after five years, most people are unable to completely recover after losing their jobs. No other life event has the same negative impact. Unemployment especially affects men. But take heart: You don’t need a good job to achieve career well-being. You can be out of work and still attain happiness. Spend your time on something that brings you pleasure. This could involve bringing up children or doing volunteer work, such as tutoring.

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