Tag Archives: job satisfaction

Working at Happiness

Story of the Day for Saturday May 19, 2012

Working at Happiness

                  It is God’s gift that everyone would see good in all his labor. 

                                                                                 Ecclesiastes 3:13

A Chinese proverb says, “If you want to be happy for an hour, get drunk. If you want to be happy for three days, get married. If you want to be happy for eight days, kill your pig and eat it. If you want to be happy forever, learn to fish.

Now, — don’t even think it – I’m not advocating getting drunk, and my wife and I have shared 28 years together, and we’re still on our honeymoon. Last month, we butchered our pigs, and I’ve been happy about that for several weeks.

We want to commend, however, the wisdom of the Chinese in seeing the vital connection between work and happiness.  Researchers at Gothenburg University in Sweden published their findings that people are made happy by working toward a goal (not the attainment, but the striving).

And this is where things get bollixed up. We tend to focus on the money (i.e., the “attainment”) as the source of happiness, when it is really the striving (i.e., the work) that brings fulfillment.

We are made in the image of God. As God creates, so he has made us to create – to be creative.  Work really is meant to be satisfying.

One of the most respected studies on job satisfaction was done a few years ago at the University of Chicago.  The school’s National Opinion Research Center found little correlation between job satisfaction and money. Nor is there a link between job satisfaction and time for leisure (two or the top three happiest professions work over 50 hours a week).

What makes a job satisfying? Helping other people, being creative, and using special talents and expertise.

Want to know the profession that produces the greatest job satisfaction? (Are you ready for this?) Pastors.  They are followed by physical therapists, firefighters, school principals, artists, teachers, authors, psychologists, and special education teachers.

Beside the school principals and psychologists, the pay is average.  But when we  are active in helping and using our God-given creativity, we are the happiest in our work.

The point of all this, however, is not that you need the right job to find fulfillment. What you need is the right attitude.  Figure out how your work serves others. Be creative. And recognize the uniqueness of the talents God gave you.

Final note: Although the University of Chicago doesn’t consider this an “occupation,” I believe the most satisfying job involves long hours and no pay. The occupation is called: “being a mom.”

Turned into Excellence and Joy

Story of the Day for Saturday May 21, 2011

Turned into Excellence and Joy

                  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart – as if you are doing it for the Lord and not for men.

                                                                                           Colossians 3:23

During World War I, Albert Schweitzer and his wife were interned at Garaison.

Shortly after they arrived, a handful of prisoners were brought in from another camp.  They grumbled at the poor food preparation.

The prison cooks, however, were professionals from the first-class hotels and restaurants in Paris.

The complaining about the poor food came to the attention of the Governor.  He asked the grumblers which of them were cooks.  None were.  The leader was a shoemaker, and the others were tailors, hatmakers, basketweavers, and brushmakers.  They told the Governor that they served as cooks in their previous camp and knew how to prepare food in large quantities.

The Governor put them in charge of the kitchen for two weeks.  If they could prepare better food than the Parisian chefs, then they would keep their job.  If not, they would be placed under lock and key as disturbers of the peace.

Their first meal consisted only of potatoes and cabbages, but everyone declared the meal delicious.  The prisoners proclaimed every succeeding meal a triumph.

The Governor installed them as the new cooks.

Dr. Schweitzer asked the shoemaker the secret of his success.  He replied: “One must know all sorts of things, but the most important is to do the cooking with love and care.”

Reflecting on that response, Schweitzer observed that he no longer gets upset when someone is appointed to a government position over which they know nothing.  Instead, he hopes that they have the passion and care for their position that a shoemaker had for his cooking.

Want to know a secret?  Most people think that the greatest satisfaction is found in high-status, high-paying jobs.  I can’t find the research at the moment, but that isn’t going to stop me from claiming that studies show little correlation between salary and job satisfaction.

The key is our heart.  When we seek to do a job well, we find the task to be extremely satisfying.

The Bible tells us to tackle any task by doing it with all our heart. By doing so, we can find fulfillment in anything we do.  Excellence is rewarding.

But what if you chose to do every task as an act of worship?  What if undertook every task, no matter how lowly, as if the Lord had asked you to do if for him?

The Lord does ask that you perform every task for him.  And when you transform it into an act of worship, the passion, the heart you put into it will turn it into excellence.  And joy.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)