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How much happiness should I expect from my job?

- December 11, 2019 2 MIN READ

This question plagued Jessica Powell, ex Head of Communications for Google in the United States, for several years before she decided to do something about it. 

“How much should I listen to my intuition? And how much should I trust what the market was telling me?” Jessica told Jessi Hempel in this Hello Monday podcast episode.

After about five years of indecision, Jessica said her intuition won. Her next move was to write a fiction book about working in the tech space.

Is my inner voice right?

Jessica’s original question  is a great one: how much happiness should your job bring you?

Business coach and founder of the Insecurity Project, Jaemin Fraser has given this topic quite a bit of thought – though you might be surprised by his answer. 

“I’m convinced that eventually your job is supposed to suck,” Jaemin told Flying Solo. 

“And the right amount of happiness definitely changes over time.”

Jaemin says this is especially true of those of us still working for someone else, or for someone else’s company. 

“I think about this  bout this in terms of the 7 levels of consciousness (otherwise referred to as Spiral Dynamics) created by Chris Cowan and Don Beck. Working a Job is level 4 consciousness  (The system) It is all about serving someone else’s vision, trusting in someone else’s wisdom, and making someone else rich. It requires a massive step of growth to move out of level 3 (Rebellion) to step up and function responsibly in an adult way and so is entirely healthy for a season, yet the longer you stay in level 4 the less healthy and happy you become.” 

That was certainly true for Sarah who told Jessi that it took years of having a private ‘knowing’ that work could be different, before being ready to actually take action. 

Ignoring the pain is normal, but not that healthy

“If you ignore the pain and tell yourself to suck it up because this is as good as it gets, no one could blame you. Chasing your own dreams is freaking hard. Serving someone else’s dream means you never really have to stick your neck out and see what you are capable of. You can’t fail if you never fully try. Yet choosing to suppress the pain inevitably starts to cause atrophy of mind, heart and soul. You end up as a mindless consumer, soothing the pain with various ugly self medication strategies,” says Jaemin. 

Jaemin  also says there will be a tipping point – but that doesn’t need to be a negative. 

“Sooner or later, working for the man is going to create major pain in your life. There is nothing surer. Now, rather than that being a huge problem, it’s actually a wonderful thing. The pain is there to let you know that it is time to keep growing. The key here is to see that your challenges are not complicated or unique. Every human being faces these exact pain/growth points in their journey. Seeing the issue on this level helps you get out of your own story and move to the level of process and principles to solve the problem.” 

Sounds simple, doesn’t it!