Happiness versus Purpose

I was delighted to be asked to contribute to the Career Compass Club blog this month, discussing the topic of happiness in the workplace. 

In answering the question “Is the pursuit of happiness over-rated?”, I come down on the side of meaning and purposes over happiness.


Simply put, happiness is an elusive and volatile experience. Meaning, purpose and satisfaction are more enduring. You can have a meaningful and satisfying day at work solving knotty problems and dealing with crises, even if you weren’t particularly happy doing it.

Chasing after a permanent state of happiness means we can forget to focus on the here and now and instead, believe we’ll be happy “when x happens” at some point in the future.

Happiness is part of the journey, but to experience it at work, we need to experience its counterpart. Employers, I argue, should ensure they provide a sense of meaning and purpose, as well as safety, to facilitate happiness. Not chase happiness as the goal.

You can read my perspective here.

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