The Advantages of Loving What You Do

You’ve heard the saying that it’s better to love what you do than to just have a job. Since love is in the air today, let’s examine this a bit closer and see if it rings true.

According to, job satisfaction means different things to different people. Some are happy with the challenges or the opportunity to use their creative skills. Others like the environment or their relationships with colleagues. In some cases, it’s a mix of several factors that bring the most satisfaction. The amount of money in the weekly paycheck is often a factor in job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction is one of the factors in overall life satisfaction, which includes emotional well-being and life evaluation — the thoughts people have about their lives — according to a study reported in August 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. Up to a certain point, according to the study authors, money can increase both feelings of emotional well-being and life satisfaction. Once income reaches approximately $75,000 a year, people may rate their life satisfaction more highly as income increases, but emotional well-being does not change with income increases.

So… is it true that money can buy you love of your job? Maybe.

According to a recent December article in Forbes Magazine, one study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. When it comes to salespeople, happiness has an even greater impact, raising sales by 37%.

Happy employees are also good news for organizations: The stock prices of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” rose 14% per year from 1998 to 2005, while companies not on the list only reported a 6% increase.

So happiness is linked to productivity. But what does it mean to be “happy” in the workplace? 

In his book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, Patrick Lencioni boils it down to wanting to feel like who you are matters (you want people to know your name), that what you do has an impact (that you’re engaged in relevant work) and you’re making progress (that your work is having an impact and leading you and your organization forward).

While job security and financial stability are important to job satisfaction, so are opportunities to use one’s skills and abilities. The bottom line is that people need to continue to grow in order to remain engaged and productive.

This Valentine’s Day, check in about how you feel about whether you love what you do and the difference you make for those you serve – and those you manage. It can affect more than your business. It can affect your own life satisfaction – and theirs.

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