This was the motto of the panel discussion I participated in during the morning session of Udacity Intersect 2018. The panel was hosted by Kathleen Mullaney, VP of Careers at Udacity. The other panelists were:
Aubrey Blanche, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Atlassian;
Aline Lerner, Co-Founder & CEO, interviewing.io;
Chapman Snowden, CEO of Travr.se.
We covered questions such as:
How to project confidence during a job interview?
How to successfully apply when you have non-linear CV?
How to approach continuous learning in the ever-changing tech sector?
The panel (as well as all the other keynotes and panels) can be found on YouTube.
Once I´ll reach x (…put in one of your personal or professional goals…) I´ll be happy. This is a popular equation many people believe in. It´s promoted by a lot of self-help books as well.
And it´s wrong – or at least incomplete.
One of the central tenets in Positive Psychology is that happiness (positive emotions) actually lead to success. Researchers Julia K. Boehm and Sonja Lyubomirsky gathered the extant scientific evidence supporting this hypothesis for an influential review article in 2008. Ten years later they revisited this article and integrated new findings that corrobate their initial stance: Does Happiness Promote Career Success? Revisiting the Evidence. Here´s an excerpt from the discussion section:
First, the cross-sectional literature supports a correlational link between happiness and various success-related outcomes. Happiness is positively associated with job autonomy, job satisfaction, job performance, prosocial behavior, social support, popularity, and income. Happy people also receive more positive peer and supervisor evaluations […].
Second, […] longitudinal research suggests that people who are happy at an initial time point are more likely to find employment, be satisfied with their jobs, acquire higher status, perform well, be productive, receive social support, be evaluated positively, engage in fewer withdrawal behaviors, and obtain higher income at a subsequent time point.
Finally, […] experimental research demonstrates that when people are randomly assigned to experience positive emotions, they negotiate more collaboratively, set higher goals for themselves, persist at difficult tasks longer, evaluate themselves and others more favorably, help others more, and demonstrate greater creativity and curiosity than people assigned to experience neutral or negative emotions.
While I do most of my speaking on Positive Psychology in Organizations in the German-speaking area, the number of international speaking engagements are somewhat on the rise. This spring, I´m going to be a contributor at Udacity´s Intersect 2018 conference in Mountain View (March 27). I will talk on how to use Positive Psychology to find the perfect job and ace the job interview. Here´s the current speaker roster:
Conventional wisdom tells us that there are more meaningful (e.g., nurse) and less meaningful (e.g., cleaner) jobs out there. Yet, Wrzesniewski and her colleagues found that the level of meaning (or purpose) we can derive from our work is only partly dependent on the type of job per se. The way we think (or feel) about what we do seems to have more importance in this matter. The researchers describe three separate (but not mutually exclusive) orientations that people can take on vis-à-vis their occupation: a) job; b) career; c) work.
Work Orientation: Job
People in this category tend to perceive their work as a means to an end. They work for the paycheck/benefits to support their life outside of work. Accordingly, they prefer jobs which do not interfere with their personal lives and typically do not have a strong connection to the workplace or their job duties.
Work Orientation: Career
Individuals displaying a “career” orientation are more likely to focus on job attributes related to prestige and success. They will be foremost interested in opportunites for upward movement, e.g., receiving raises and titles, and the social standing that come along with that.
Work Orientation: Calling
Employees with a “calling” orientation typically describe their work as an integral part of their lives and their identities. Accordingly, they feel that their careers are a form of self-expression and fulfillment.
The crucial point is: Wrzesniewski and her colleagues found that individuals displaying a “calling” orientation are more likely to be highly engaged – and satisfied with their work and their lives in general. And while there are types of jobs that indeed yield a higher percentage of employees displaying this attitude, the researchers were able to show that each orientation frequently appears within all walks of life.
Typically, this involves being able to “see the big picture” (and thus, leadership comes into play). E.g., a cleaner in a hospital setting might say that she helps to “save lives” (instead of, e.g., cleaning the beds) because she knows that she helps to kill off bacteria that otherwise might infect and kill the patients.
Now, I don’t know how the people displayed in the following video view their work – but they´ve surely turned it into something extraordinary – even though most of them seem to work in rather ordinary jobs. Enjoy!
I know that about half of my pageviews come from Germany – so I´d like to share with you a presentation I just uploaded on Slideshare. It´s about Generation Y and the future of leadership – but there´s a strong link to positive psychology, especially on the subject of meaning in life.*
* To all English readers: I apologize – maybe I´ll put up a translated version someday…