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Top 5 Happiest Jobs (will they make YOU happy?)

by Marianne Cantwell

If you’re surrounded by people who think dreading Mondays is the norm, it’s little wonder you’re searching the internet for that magical ‘happy career’ that will sort out your problems.

Luckily, there are scores of happiness at work studies that tell you which are the happiest jobs. One these is the City & Guilds’ Happiness Index (a UK yearly survey). According to this, the professions with the highest proportion of people who say they are happy at work are:

1. Hairdresser

2. Beauty Therapist

3. Early Years/Childcare

4. Doctor/Dentist

5. Plumber


The unhappiest? Secretaries/PAs/admin workers.

So to be happy we should all become hairdressers. Right?

I’m not so sure. The better question is, what’s behind this list? The top 5 happy professions have the following in common: high interaction with people, are out of a conventional office, and do things that have clear outcomes.

The top 4 are about caring for people. And even number 5, plumber (and number 6, electrician) are about fixing things that are plaguing people.

Plus the work environment. Not only are these roles out of the regular office, they are also free of the ever looming career ladder (a constant reminder that you haven’t quite made it).

But that’s the usual analysis. I think there is something more though.

The focus in these professions is on making others happy/well. To do this the environment you work in needs to have that positive feel (think about how a hair salon feels).

To me, that is the reason that people in these fields say they are happy - because they are happy makers they focus on others all day (forgetting about their own worries) and also work in a happy and harmonious environment.

Contrast this with the least happy profession. Admin work usually means a lack of control over what you do. Admin work is part of a clear pecking order (and when you’re constantly reminded you’re low on the ladder, that doesn’t feel great).

There is something about that office-admin environment that feels toxic. Office politics, an impenetrable pecking order, stuck in an airless office box with a lack of freedom about your day… plus a question mark over the point of what you actually contribute every day. Sound familiar?

It’s not just admin workers is it?

The happiest jobs lists don’t mean we should all become hairdressers. Some of us would feel stifled and unfulfilled even by that. But these lists do teach us something.

If you are stuck in a soul destroying office environment, and want to stop living only for the weekends, then it is vital you take ‘happiness’ as seriously as your colleagues take ‘career progression’.

Reconsidering your priorities at work is a must if you are to find something that makes you so happy you stop searching the internet for happiest jobs lists.

Photo by architekt2
  • JenJam

    I love that the negative types in life completely miss the point of this article. I've had people tell me “oh, there's not much money in hairdressing” and “she just wants to sell her courses”.
    Well, if people want to think negatively, that's their choice, but I don't want to listen to their moans about how stuck they are.
    This has given me a lot to think about. Yes I am in an office job I don't enjoy but this has given me some pointers as to how i can make that job more enjoyable, while I plot my escape. It would be fantastic if I could resign tomorrow then waltz off into the sunset with clients coming out of my ears, but I have to be realistic.
    Thank you for writing this, it's extremely helpful to me for one :)

  • http://www.free-range-humans.com/ Marianne Cantwell

    Hi Jenny,

    You're brilliant!

    I completely agree. I don't worry about the negative cynical people – kinda fond of them as it means I'm hitting a nerve.

    I'd rather have 75 people hate what I do and write and 25 people completely connect than have 100 be mildly apathetic :)

    What are you planning to change to and how far down the line are you?

  • sarada81

    I completely agree! It's taken me a good few years to realise that I'm physically incapable of sitting in front of a computer all day without wanting to run and scream into a pillow! :) In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if it's even normal…

    “stuck in an airless office box with a lack of freedom about your day… plus a question mark over the point of what you actually contribute every day” – how did you get inside my head Marianne!

    Thanks for another postive blog post – keep them coming!

  • http://www.free-range-humans.com/ Marianne Cantwell

    Thanks so much! I know how you feel – and after going 'free range' I started thinking “how on earth could I ever have thought that being stuck in a cubicle in front of a screen all day was normal?” The concept of commuting has become sort of alien… and I hope it will be the same for you soon :)

    Mx

  • JenJam

    Hi Marianne

    I have an overall aim to smash the diet industy and encourage women to accept themselves for the size they are and embrace a healthy lifestyle regardless of what size clothing they wear.
    Not too far down the line so far… I am collaboratin with 3 others in the US though, we work together on a forum and blog, there are more projects in the pipeline and it's all very exciting :)

    Sarada – is that the Sarada I think it is? I'll be in touch shortly about the fundraising and event management :)

    Marainne – keep these posts coming, it does feel like you're expressing the nebulous thoughts which are swirling in my head. Thank you xx

  • http://www.free-range-humans.com/ Marianne Cantwell

    Oh wow! Have you heard of Beyond Chocolate? Sophie who runs it has a great approach – might be slightly different to what you're doing but it's an excellent model to look at!

    Keep me posted, what a FABULOUS idea.

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  • http://www.comebackbrighter.blogspot.com Jay

    That's certainly food for thought on a Sunday evening… Priorities definitely need to be reconsidered, but it's the breaking free that is the scary part.

  • Cat

    As a music graduate I’ve been considering jobs in the arts sector – PA, media assistants, marketing/promotions etc, which are almost always full time and require long/out of hours work. But this website has enabled me to see the bigger picture that is, just because I’d be working for an arts company, doesn’t mean I’ll be doing anything arty on a day-to-day basis – it’d probably just end up as any other office job with all the issues addressed above. So I’m looking into other professions that will allow me part time, flexible work, so that I don’t just ‘live for the weekend’ but can attend the theatre and concert halls freely and frequently, which is what really makes me happy! and I can allow myself time to get on with my own creative pursuits without being bound to my boss’s schedule. It’s hard to see through these issues at first, but thanks to the snippets of advice, I think I’m making the right choice! :)

  • yammy

    sexy

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/M6AQNIP3VWJ4K73OWI5CGKFNDU LSEM

    LOL a plumber

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