Happiness@work: myth or reality

Happiness@work: myth or reality

by 12 Comments

Happiness@work: myth or reality


Why do we work? After spending few years as an HR in a small hotelier business I started asking myself that question. Besides the obvious money reasons, what else is there? We spend most of our waking hours at work. Do we love it? Well, according to vast research data on that topic, not really. Work is obligation, necessity, everybody is doing it, everybody is force to do it and everybody wants out. Ok, let’s not exaggerate. There are some urban legends about weirdos who actually do like what they do. Have you met them? You know those annoying types, believers in positive thinking, constantly cheering and encouraging everybody.


How I became Happiness Manager

Few months ago, I firmly decided to become one of them. I began my quest. My first stop was job adds. Let’s see what is out there. Ensuring legal compliance by monitoring human resources legal requirements, managing documentation and maintaining personnel files, tracking, analyzing and reporting KPI in HR... boring, boring...and then... Happiness/HR Manager position at software engineering company. Who are those guys? Is this a joke? They wrote on the end- Do you think you have what it takes and dare to make the next step in your career? Really. You are using classic childish provocation on me...Well, it worked. You got my attention and apparently attention of many others. I prepared myself for fierce fight. I’ll show them who are they dealing with. I’ve done my research, wrote motivational letter, went through majority of interview questions, wrote follow ups after each selection interview round (as my friend calls them seven circles of hell), some nerve-racking waiting for their decision and wholah, I got the job. Now what? ...Wait a minute, what is Happiness Manager?

Who started the whole thing?

As my new colleague Alexander pointed out to me, expectations in Happiness business are quite high. Should I be scared? My CEO Dejan, really nice guy (I hope he is reading this) send me link to The Chief Happiness Officer blog. So, this is what it’s all about:

„Companies are seldom happy if they are only about money. It is much more fun to work for a worthy cause. If companies and employees are opposites or enemies instead of partners, nobody will be happy. If there are barriers between employees that prevent collaboration, energy will be wasted on internal friction rather than spent on customer satisfaction. An open and collaborative organization has fun. It is that simple. Therefore, I dare say that happiness is not a joke in management. It is damn serious: happy companies will win. Happy companies will grow and happy companies will innovate.“

Kjerulf, Alexander (2014-01-01). Happy Hour is 9 to 5: How to Love your Job, Love your Life, and Kick Butt at Work (Your Best Self). Pine Tribe Ltd.

Today, efficiency, innovation and customer service are prime success factors in any organization. Studies consistently show that happy companies are way more productive, service-oriented and creative than unhappy ones. In the market place unhappy ones don’t stand a chance. So, how to achieve it? According to The Chief it only takes two things: results and relationships.

Most companies focus only on results: budgets, plans, projects, strategies and missions. Results are keeping them in the market race, so it is understandable and also a mistake, because good relationships don’t just appear by themselves. It takes time and a concerted, daily effort to create them. When this effort is not made instead of teamwork and mutual appreciation you get mistrust, internal conflict, bickering and selfishness, which makes people unhappy at work, and then results suffer.


First month in my new role

When I entered my new collective, all I saw was a bunch of silent, highly concentrated professionals on their computers, except for that joyful group, they know who they are... So, this is how software developers look like. I joined them on their conference meetings... and this is how they sound... not understanding a damn thing. Hmm...I needed to somehow make them speak in normal language. Dejan asked me: „When will you start with one-on-one interviews with them all?“  Oh, c’mon, I just suggested that on my job interview because you and Luc and Goran (in case they are reading this: Hi Luc, Hi Goran!) cornered me with: „What will you do if you get the job? Give us your ideas? Anything?“ I was improvising. Are we really going to do this? ...I guess we will.

We called it „coffee with HR“. I met with every one of them (we are fast growing company, so the number is approaching 30 as you read this) at the nearest café for an hour. Some happiness séances took longer than that...Sorry Dejan, we couldn’t stop talking.  Apparently this personalized approach was quite unexpected for them. They were like: „What do you want from us? Go away!“, and I was like: „Here, have a cookie...“ And after that initial awkwardness, it began, we started connecting. I discovered that they are very interesting, highly intelligent people, with ideas, aspirations, accomplishments and challenges, and most importantly with great sense of humor. 

This is why I work. To remove fear from human relationships, to establish trust, to help people grow and have fun while doing that, to light fire for idea exchanging, to acknowledge everybody’s differences giving them options to choose from best suited for their needs and interests...or, maybe I should just go back to those HR administration job adds. They seemed much easier.

What about you? Why do you work?


Ivana Mošić

Unconventional, out of the box thinker, with vast interest in people with different backgrounds, interests, needs, communication styles. Curious about the world, passionate believer in knowledge sharing and connecting through meaningful experiences. As Pedagogy Master worked with children, switched to hotelier business, now jumped in the IT sector. Looks like I am going to stay here for a while.


  • Gravatar Image

    Really inspiring article!!!
    I guess we all need Happiness Manager, at least one per employee ;)

    Going back through all my previous companies, I was most satisfied when I got my fair share of jokes and joy with fellow colleagues.
    Laughing every now and then keeps tension low, helps human barriers come down, strengthening relationships among coworkers.

    Helping someone with their problem is much easier if you know you'll be rewarded with smile and few jokes along the path ;)

    • Gravatar Image

      Yes, building relationships at work is really important. If you get along with your colleagues, you'll be energized and better prepared for every challenge that comes your way.

  • Gravatar Image

    Without intention to sound emotional, but I feel like this is revolution in money oriented subjects on work!
    Great text, interesting but still very scientific based, on catching style and understandable language!
    Got me smiling and thinking at the same time! Isn't that great?
    We can earn for life and feel grate while doing it. Isn't that the point?
    Love it

  • Gravatar Image

    I loved the text.
    What it comes down to is actually listening to the workers, seeing their perspective and sometimes doing a small thing for them goes a long way.
    Good luck on your new job, and don't worry, be HAPPY.

  • Gravatar Image

    Well, speaking of work, everything that has obligation and 'must be' done, cannot bring joy and happiness, that's why most of the working people is unsatisfied. Even if one loves programming for eg, it is ruined by 'profit', timeline etc. Reading this text, one sentence from one of my most favorite movies -The bridge on a river Kwai- is getting on my mind "As for me, I'm just a slave, a living slave... " - stated American soldier to Alex Guiness :)
    But that's not complain, we live in this kind of world right now... Even in capitalism, no one has killed my love for programming :) yet

  • Gravatar Image

    Great post! Every company should have at least one manager who inspires employees. Go for it! Ideas are fantastic.

  • Gravatar Image

    Great article Ivana.

    I really do agree it is much more fun to work for a worthy cause, in doing so you create an emotional attachment to what you are working on, they call this passion!

    I came a cross a great quote recently which I think sums up being happy at work...

    "Working hard for something you don't care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion"

    We should all strive to make sure that everyone is enjoying what they are doing, if they are not, we should asking them why and putting it right!

    Passion = Success

    • Gravatar Image

      Thank you for the quote, Paule. It really sums it up. A lot of companies admits that emotional engagement is proving to be more and more critical to achieving winning results. It all comes down to passion.

Leave a reply

Comment sent for approval