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Today is the International Day of Happiness. This special day was initiated by the United Nations (UN) in recognition and celebration of the fundamental human goal of happiness. The UN established three main goals for this day, which are to end poverty, reduce inequality and protect our planet. Achieving these objectives would no doubt improve the happiness levels of people on our planet.

When it comes to our working lives, there are some key areas to address if we are to improve happiness at work.

Value alignment

Multiple studies have indicated that people are more satisfied with their jobs when their values are aligned with their employer’s values. There doesn’t need to be an 100% alignment but there are important areas that should. For instance, if you’re concerned about climate change and make environmentally conscious choices in your personal life but the company you work for lacks any sustainability policies, then you will feel dissatisfied. Ask yourself, what are my core values? Then ask, what are the core values of the company I work for? If you can’t see enough of a match, it is probably time you started looking for another job.


Looking after our health is one of the most important tools we have for improving happiness levels in life and work. March 16th last week marked Close the Gap day in Australia which is a campaign that aims to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians. We have a long way to go to change infant mortality rates, life expectancy and the rate of illness for Aboriginal people. Our happiness as a nation is dependent on us looking out for the health of all of our citizens. 


It’s hard to feel satisfied at work if you’re being underpaid. Know your worth by comparing your job to the salaries of similar jobs. Ask your boss for a salary increase if you realise you’re being underpaid and undervalued. Women in particular must be diligent because the gender pay gap is still a reality.


We might feel comfortable doing the same role with the same tasks and expectations for long periods of time but in the end it won’t be satisfying. To improve happiness at work we need growth. Ask yourself, have I been open to growth opportunities? Are there skills I could develop? How do I see my role evolving?


This seems obvious, but it’s amazing how often people end up in a career that gives them little enjoyment. Perhaps you got good grades and decided to study law because you could and not because it interested you. Or maybe you fell into your current job and you don’t enjoy it at all. It’s difficult to realise that you don’t enjoy your job but when we spend so many hours of our lives working. To improve happiness at work, it’s vital that we enjoy what we do. As the poet Mary Oliver beautifully said “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”