Happiest Workers in Britain are Teachers

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Summary: Teaching can be a happy profession because it generally is about helping others and is socially well-connected.

Researchers in Britain interviewed 2,000 employees from a range of fields and found that it was the teachers who reported the most happiness with their work. It was making a difference and contributing something positive to society that were tied to their happiness, rather than a singular focus on money. (Almost 300 teachers were included in the study.) The two main struggles associated with teaching were a dearth of perks and the difficulty in career advancement.

In the study, money also took a back seat to employee benefits and how much progress an employee can experience in her or his career growth. About one third of the research subjects said they felt it was being able to make a difference that made them happy. (Recently a different study, this one in America, noted that helping others without any guarantee of being compensated might be one of the greatest untapped sources of motivation.)

A little less than a quarter said it was being able to communicate with others that was tied to their happiness. (Social connectedness has been confirmed by research to be an integral part of human happiness.) Relationships with colleagues was not surprisingly one of the top rated aspects of work happiness in the survey. Another was their holiday allowance. About 35% said an easy commute was important and nearly the same percentage said it was being able to manage their own work load that was a key component. (This is another area where some related research has identified the same scenario, though the terms usually generally are control and autonomy.)

The ten happiest professions in Britain according to the survey were:

Shop Assistant
Customer care/ Call Center

It would have been engaging if the study results had noted the differences in happiness levels between the professions. Would a call center employee have one quarter of the teacher's happiness? In the British survey, lawyers were ranked as 9th happiest, but in America lawyers have a relatively high rate of depression.


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