The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Happy! Happy! Happy!

Are you happy at your job? Does it really matter? After all, your employer gives you a paycheck, puny as it may be, and a place to go between 9 and 5. If it wasn’t for your job, you’d be sitting at home all day, chugging Red Bulls and watching “American Hoggers.” You’d never have the luxurious lifestyle you have today, not to mention all the excitement and the glamour your job provides.

Yet, for ungrateful wretches like you, this is apparently not sufficient. You also want to be happy. What’s surprising is that your bosses may want you to be happy, too. No, they don’t care that your job makes you miserable. That’s because new research has shown that happy employees are 31 percent more productive, 300 percent more creative and make 37 percent more sales.

Apparently, your poor performance is not because you don’t work enough. It’s because you don’t giggle enough.

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One of the driving forces behind these new theories of happiness is Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher, the author of “The Happiness Advantage,” and the CEO of Good Think, Inc. According to a press release I just received from Achor’s flack, who I assume is quite euphoric about her position, Anchor’s researches have uncovered “The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work.”

And here’s the best part — he’s happy to share.
One of the techniques Achor suggests that will “flip the switch to capitalize on positive intelligence” is to “re-wire your brain for increased positivity.” This amazing feat can be accomplished in “as little as three weeks,” according to the happiness guru, but in your case, you might want to allot more time for the flipping process to begin. Before you can re-wire your brain, you do have to find it.

The techniques suggested to accomplish this mental remodeling project include “jotting down three things for which you are grateful.” If you can’t think of any, let me help: You’re grateful for the free non-dairy creamer in the coffee room, which you can sprinkle on the shoulders of your co-workers, and then rush to tell the rest of the office it’s dandruff. You’re grateful for all the office supplies you’ve pilfered from the storage room and sold on eBay. Finally, you’re grateful that your manager constantly berates you, because it makes you appreciate the intermittent criticism you get from your spouse, your children and your dog.

Achor also recommends meditating at your desk for two minutes. Or you can continue to nap at your desk for six hours, but be careful — you could miss lunch and that would not make you happy.

The happiness guru encourages you to “Change Your Relationship Status … with Stress.” I didn’t understand this phrasing at first, because I know how stressful it would be for you to change your intimate and intense relationship status with the lunchtime buffet at the Smorgy Bob. Turns out author Achor is talking about changing the way you deal with stress. His suggestion is to “pick one stressor to manage at a time, and work your way up from smaller to large victories.”

For example, you might start by giving up the stress you feel when you consider the effects of a giant meteorite crashing into Earth right before the start of “Revenge.” Then you can start working on the stress you feel when the candy machine is out of Reese’s Pieces.

Or you can simply continue to do what you do now, and beat on the machine with your tiny fists. It may be futile, but it does make you happy.

Helping your co-workers also generates happiness. Research shows that providing “social support” to the losers with whom you work will make you 40 percent more likely to be promoted and feel ten times more engaged by your job. This may be news to you, since the majority of your time at work is spent trying to sabotage your co-workers.

Please let me support you in your efforts to support your co-workers. It’s actually easy. When a fellow worker makes a negative comment about your company’s management, immediately send an email to the manager being discussed, documenting the incident in detail. The manager will then realize that your fellow worker is unhappy and quickly move to rectify the situation, using a highly supportive management technique called “firing.”

Your co-worker may be sad, but your manager will be happy, and that should make you very happy indeed.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@funnybusiness.com.

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