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Cultural Diversity on Happiness at Work


Cultural Diversity on Happiness at Work

Sherif El Henaoui shares a few thoughts on happiness in a job from a cultural perspective. 

Recently I had two coaching-like conversations about the job and its impact on someone’s happiness.

In the first case, a German professional mentioned to me that a job is a job and that happiness comes from elsewhere. Yes there might be moments of satisfaction, but it is far from being the reason for happiness. In the second case, an American professional, telling me that the job to take is the one that makes him most happy.

In both conversations I tried to promote / use the PERMA-V (Positive moments, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment) model for happiness and it was well understood and taken, but still there is a fundamental cultural diversity. In Germany a job -that implies hard work- is not created to make people happy; satisfied or content at best, while other cultures in particular and for example the Dutch I would say promotes the theory of happiness at work and correlates it to the performance and success of a company [Check out the work of Rens ter Weijde on ].

Now back to the notion of if work is a source / reason for happiness. My take on it is, most people spend so much time at work that if they are miserable there, it is hard for them to be happy in total. Or better, if there is at least one aspect at work that makes somebody below the threshold of tolerance, then everything else does not matter. For example, if a person is sensitive to appreciation, and his manager is ignoring him, then this particular aspect becomes the reason for not opening up for being happy. So often work becomes more of a happiness show-stopper, then a happiness enabler.

Key points include:

  • The PERMA model
  • The German perspective
  • The Dutch perspective

Read the full article, About happiness in a job – cultural views, on LinkedIn.