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Communication Skills to Create the Happiest Job in America

Posted on September 19, 2012 by Leslie Dickson

Ever dream about your perfect job? It’s a topic that comes up with VoicePRO clients regularly.  What’s your perfect job look like? What do you do all day? How much do you make? Who’s sitting at the next desk?

Well, the good folks at a company called CareerBliss, an online career community, have done some light research on the topic. Based on over 100,000 employee-generated reviews, they’ve released a list of the 10 happiest and unhappiest jobs in America. The full list is interesting. But I was more fascinated by their underlying factors for happiness. Why? To start, I like the breadth of info. There are 10 factors measured, including work-life balance, one’s relationship with the boss and co-workers, the work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks, and control over the work one does on a daily basis. What jumped out at me?

A high salary doesn’t make people happy.

The average pay of the unhappiest jobs was $10,000 more than the happiest lists. And while security officers rated unhappiest at $29, 641 average salary, bank tellers are Top Ten happy and make $2,500 less. And, the highest paid job, Program Manager, at over $94,000, is in the Bottom 10 Unhappiest Job list.

If we’re really honest, we know money isn’t the most important factor to job satisfaction. And that’s the good news! While most of us have limited control over how much we make, we can impact many of the other items on the list. My top three? Relationship with the boss and co-workers, the work environment and growth opportunities.  Let’s take a look.

How do you find a job where the relationship is better with your boss and co-workers?

The best way to have the relationship you want is to take the lead in creating it.

Are you being honest with yourself – and others? Examine situations in light of all the facts and the good of all involved. Is your point of view based only on what works for you?

Really listen. We can become so sure of our opinions that we simply quit hearing what other people say. Be open to new information or a different point of view.

Feedback is not the same as criticism. If you’re in a leadership role, remember your responsibility is to help people improve, not simply tell them what is wrong.

What about a better work environment?

In so many, a work environment is simply a reflection of workplace relationships. The stress of short deadlines or tight budgets may not be under our control, but the way we respond (and help others) can change the atmosphere.

Check your own communication style. Are you expecting a fight?  Do you display a negative attitude or a get-it-done approach?  Even with difficult people or situations, simple courtesy and respect can improve outcomes.

Enthusiasm can be as contagious as negative emotion. More often than you think, it’s simply a matter of choice.

How can you get the new work opportunities you want?

You need to grow opportunities yourself. This one is never a sure thing (what is?), but taking a strong, prepared approach can make the difference.

Know what you want. Go to your supervisor with clear options about strengths you’d like to be exercising, challenges you think you’re ready to take on. Have a fact-based rationale to support your viewpoint. Be sure you’ve thought through development you might need to be successful.

Remember to give and take. Maybe you’ll get exactly the response you’d like, but be ready for this to take some back-and-forth. Really listen to your supervisor’s feedback – good, bad or in between. Then take next steps – whether it’s writing up a new project description or reworking your plan based on the new information.

The truth is, on any given day, every one of us has the happiest job in America. Or the unhappiest one. In fact, if you compare the 2012 CareerBliss list to the 2011 one, you’ll find a lot of flip-flopping among categories. But is that any surprise? In the end, the highest predictor of career happiness is the person making the prediction. Which one are you choosing?

Let’s talk more about programs that can help you achieve the career success you want and take a leadership role in creating a better workplace for your whole team.

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