Happiness is a Long Lost Key

What we do as nonprofit professionals is the opportunity to make change in the world that we hold a passion for. We go out everyday and work for the cause that drives our heart and souls to wake up each morning. Seldom to you hear someone in a nonprofit position say ” I hate my job, but the money is too good to quit “, or ” I am so unhappy at work, if only my job was interesting”.

If you chose to work for a nonprofit (or with one such as on a Board or pro bono), you chose to be happy. Now I am not saying you could not work in the private or public sector and not be happy at your job.  Or that all nonprofit professionals are happy, all smiles, giddy people each day. However, research done in 2002 has shown some supporting data behind my assertions. Final Topline Report: Health of the Nonprofit, For-profit, and Public Service Sectors from February 2002 is at www.brookings.edu/views/papers/light/NonprofitTopline.PDF and has these nuggets:

  • 75% of nonprofit workers believe their work is NOT boring – compared to 58% & 57% of private and public sector workers.
  • 66% of NP workers say they feel they accomplish something worthwhile – compared to 41% & 47%

If that’s not happiness at work, what is?

Yesterday the New York Times published a piece about a study that happiness may come with age. It did not look at the causes of happiness, but more or less “who” is happier at what age. Perhaps a part of that is that as we age, we end up doing what makes us happy, both at work and at home.

Thoughts?

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