Two people shaking hands. Happiness

Who Does Your Happiness Depend On?

Taking Responsibility

I recently saw a comment in a post, that said that a customer has more opportunities to leave happy, but an employees happiness is dependant on their employer.

It was a comment made due to a picture post of Richard Branson, who is quoted as saying:

”Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you tae care of your employees, they will take care of your customers”.

On reading the quote and the comment it arose an air of apprehension in me, because, for me, the quote and the comment are not really related. Besides the point that the comment is incorrect.

The quote is perfectly true – when an employee is looked after then the chances are that the employee will be happier and is more likely to put in the effort. Of course an unhappy employee is not expected to put as much effort in as the motivation isn’t there.

On the surface, the comment and quote correlate with each other. But that isn’t necessarily true. Just because an employee is in an environment that promotes looking after the employee before the customer (and that doesn’t happen often), it doesn’t guarantee that the employee will be motivated, put the effort in or be happy.

The question then becomes, why is that so? And the answer lies in what this site and all the articles are about – the mindset.

The other issue I have with the comment, is that it shifts responsibility for our happiness from ourselves to others and the environment, where us in truth our happiness relies on two words that I have written about before – Responsibility and Attitude.

Shifting Responsibility

Okay, even I have to admit that if you work in a “sweatshop”, underpaid environment, with small to no chances of promotion or possible increase in wages, you are not going to be motivated going to work.

At the same time, however, if that’s how you feel, are you looking for a better job or work?

Although it is the employers responsibility to provide a safe working environment, the quote is not the way that all employers see things. And so the responsibility shifts to the employee.

I spoke to a colleague who had recently changed jobs. He got to the point at his previous employment where he felt that his efforts were no longer appreciated, not acknowledged and was blamed for things he had no control over, such as other peoples actions.

I spent some time with him and after a while it was obvious that he was in the right. And from what he had told me it was evident that the employer lacked proper leadership skills.

But I knew he would be right from the time we worked together and from what I knew of his character and work ethos.

As a result of what happened, he took it on himself to seek a better employer. His current job doesn’t pay more than his last, but now he feels that he is appreciated and acknowledged, and although he has more responsibilities than before, he is happy to do his work because he feels that appreciation.

But what if he had not taken action? What if he accepted his dues, as most people do and decided to do nothing?

An Attitude Shift

The responsibility to make a change is ours. If you are not happy with the way you being treated, say so to the person involved, not to your colleagues, friends and family who can’t do anything. Say it to the person involved.

You are not happy about your wages? Ask for a raise. Are you being treated unfairly? Say something.

It is not someone else’s responsibility to make something happen for you, it’s yours.

When it comes to being happy with our job and work, the same thing applies. It’s our responsibility. What determines whether we are happy or not is our attitude – not just at work, but in our life in general.

What happens in our own mind is our perception of ourselves and our environment.

It is our attitude towards ourselves, our self belief, our self image and external circumstances. And our happiness is no exception to this rule.

A person could have all they want out of a job or in life, and still be unhappy. There may be issues at home they are dealing with, which they bring to the workplace. It could be that they have difficulties working with another colleague. The reasons for someone to be unhappy are many.

None of those reasons, however, are dependant on an employer. As a matter of fact our happiness is dependant on no one else, unless we choose to let that be so. It’s closing to give that power for your happiness to someone or something else.

Your place of work, the job you hold, the work you do are all because of the choices you made in the past, the decisions you made.

It is our attitude towards our current circumstances that determines whether we are happy or not.

Do you get paid for the work you do? Does that money help you pay your bills , feed you and your family?

Are you actively seeking for a better job or work? Have your spoken to your employer about the issues you face? Ask the hard questions.

Sometimes all it takes is to approach your work with a different perspective. Rather than looking at where you’re at, think of the service you provide and how it helps other people.

Did you wake up feeling miserable that your going to work or have you decided that today is another day you get to be alive and experience life?

Is the world on your side or against you?

How you answer that last question is a great indication to your attitude.

And so…

The point I’m aiming to get across is that although your employer is responsible for you, up to a given point, your happiness is not one of those things.

We are completely and wholly responsible for our happiness, and how happy we are as individuals depends on our attitude.

Recall the old saying about the horse and the water; in the same way an employer cannot make you happy, even if they have the same customer/employee outlook as Richard Branson, if your attitude is a negative one.

Being happy is a state of mind and you are the only one that can alter that.

Stop playing the blame game when it comes to your life, career, fulfilment and happiness. Only you can change that outlook.

It really is down to your attitude and wholly your responsibility.

Things of themselves cannot touch the soul at all. They have no entry to the soul and cannot turn or move it. The soul alone turns and moves itself, making all externals presented to it cohere with the judgements it thinks worthy of itself.
Marcus Aurelius

Photograph by: rawpixel on Unsplash


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