Is Happiness a Priority?

Is happiness a priority? Early in my career, I learned a valuable lesson of how not to manage people. Market changes demanded that the company I was working for rearrange team members across business units. I was not happy with the change. The group’s product focus was a path to professional stagnation, and the team leader/manager was the perfect sort for that type of work. I toughed it out for ninety days and was convinced that the new role was not for me, nor was it the best for the group. Happy employees perform better than unhappy ones. I elevated my concern to my manager who, although he fundamentally agreed, was powerless to affect change. Not to be deterred, I want to his boss to see if something could be done. The response was, “I hear what you are saying, but your happiness means nothing to me. For you to be happy means a department transfer, which means extra work for me. Your happiness does not justify extra work for me.”

From that point on I decided that if no one else is interested in my happiness, then I had better be. I submitted my resignation letter the next day, began a two-week transition plan, and left the firm. I have forever been happy for that tough choice.

Your stretch assignment: How important is happiness to you? Data shows that happier employees perform better. Please, take a moment and watch Shawn Archor’s funny and informative TED talk…, and remember to make time for happiness.

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