Does the Pursuit of Happiness Start with Climbing the Career Ladder

Does the Pursuit of Happiness Start with Climbing the Career Ladder

Sometimes you have to just pause, rest and ask yourself ‘why?’. Why are you doing this?

Why am I doing this?

All of a sudden we’re more grateful for the ‘little’ things in life, that we took for granted? Here are some recent comments made by different people over the last few weeks, being grateful for:

  • More time with family
  • More time to work on our hobbies
  • Less time commuting and stuck in traffic
  • Less coffee and alcohol
  • More inspirational and motivations messages from the last few weeks
  • More support from the family, friends and community

These little things turn out to be the bigger things in life. It’s funny we spend about 40 hours at work, spend 5–10 (plus) hours of personal time doing work related activities, spend 5–10 hours+ on commuting to work, and then if our work is stressful, we spend more time just thinking about it. Take away any time for sleep — if you get any decent sleep that is — 7–8 hours a night. Take away time for bathing, eating, etc — you’re left with about 40–50 hours. These 40–50 hours are then left to focus on the ‘little things’ in life. Good luck — if you have kids! During this time, you’re expected to then find time for leisure, purpose, meaning, and pursue things that matter more — health, well being, happiness and fulfillment.

So then the question is, why? Why do we do this? Yes money — obviously. Building wealth — obviously. But at what cost?

Is the biggest cost, the cost of pursuing something more meaningful to us?

Well, work it self doesn’t have to be meaningless. After all, ask some people and they would sacrifice a lot for their work. They are happy to go to work. So whether it’s meaning or purpose they find in their work — may be argued. But the fact is these people actually enjoy and love their work.

Hats of to those CEOs and manager that can drive meaning and purpose for their employees. They can relate the work their employees do and give it purpose, give it meaning. Unfortunately, a majority of people are not that lucky. Meaning and purpose typically gets lost behind the numbers, the sales forecasts and the KPIs.

After all, isn’t ‘money’ what business is about? It’s about achieving key objectives to make the directors more wealthy. It’s about the shareholders, right? Well, for these businesses, maybe there is more. There should be more.

We operate in interdependent societies where we rely on each other to prosper at the society level, but also at the individual level. Sometimes we need to form partnerships, some times we stand on the shoulders of giants, sometimes we do favours, sometimes we earn favours. We are not independent as we are lead to believe we will be.

There is a saying in my language that roughly translates to ‘you don’t clap with one hand’. It’s not just the CEOs and managers, but the employees also that play a part in creating better workplaces. As an employee I cannot shift the manager constantly for the lack of better working environment. As an employee I must do my part in building team comradery, unity, and wellness into the company — there are a lot of things I can volunteer for within my company.

But that’s if the company is worth it.

As the manager do I look at my employee as a resource, asset, or cost? Assuming you hire adults, then you need to assume that these adults are mature and logical human beings. Human beings that have feelings, families, desires, hobbies, interests, aspirations and even limitations. And therefore all employees, regardless of the role they play in the organization need to be treated as such — whether they are the executive, the manager, the team leader, or the team member.

Driving meaning to work is essential for creating a better, happier and growing workplace. Imagine a workplace where everyone just loves to do their part? they stand up in the face of challenges? and they chip in when anyone is in trouble — including the company it self?

It does start from the top though. Creating a culture like this, cannot happen if the CEO, executives or the managers are not on board. Your employees can only do so much — before they turn towards a union.

But creating a culture that is people-centric doesn’t just happen within the walls of the company. It expands to customers, even vendors, community, and shareholders. In fact, there should be a term for companies that only look after their shareholders. We have sexists, racists, elitists, and so on. I’m not creative enough to come up with a new word for these type of leaders. But the executives and companies that primarily exist to look after the investors and shareholders deserve their own ‘-ist’. Maybe you can come up with one?

So, take this as a rant. Or take this as a plea. But the question I ask is, can you create an organization where people win?

Let me know if any of this resonates with you? Should we be creating companies that are people-centric? or companies that are driven by financial metrics?

If you’re keen on creating more people-centric companies then please join the Humanize Work community.

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