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Love is in the Air, But Who's Happy At Work?

A Gallup report found just 30 percent of U.S. employees are engaged at work

Love is in the Air, But Who's Happy At Work?

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is in the air. But happiness at work? That might be a different story.

According to Gallup's 2013 State of the Global Workplace report — their latest findings, which surveyed more than 150,000 full- and part-time employees — found just 30 percent of U.S. employees are engaged at work. Fifty-two percent report being "not engaged" while 18 percent are "actively disengaged."

Workplace engagement and happiness go hand in hand. That means a whole lot of people are unhappy. And to make matters worse, it’s costing the U.S. economy about $350 billion. Every year.

I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure unhappiness multiplied by long work hours over many decades does not equal a fulfilled life.

Since you’re going to spend most of your life working, you might as well be happy doing it. Let’s proceed rationally.

Millennials — know thyself

Introducing Project You by Monster, a beautifully designed, digestible online survey aimed at pinpointing areas of your life you ought to improve, all based on leading academic and scientific research. The survey includes questions that are predictable — Does your job feel meaningful? — as well as others that are more curious: How often do you floss each week? I may or may not have skipped that one.

You can also see which workers love their job versus which ones hate their job with Project You’s interactive Twitter map of the U.S. Turns out people love their job at 4 PM. I wonder why…

Dedicate yourself

What if committing time to a noble cause actually promoted happiness and well-being? According to Harvard Business Review contributor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, it does. She writes, “The happiest people I know are dedicated to dealing with the most difficult problems. Turning around inner city schools. Finding solutions to homelessness or unsafe drinking water. Supporting children with terminal illnesses. They face the seemingly worst of the world with a conviction that they can do something about it and serve others.”

But not everybody wants to or is in a position to save the world and have a laugh while doing it. Need guidance that will turn your frown upside-down? Read on.

Don’t fake it

How many smiles have you faked recently? And to whom were you faking them?

In a 2013 study in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, researchers found that during meetings with higher-ups, workers often faked smiles and pretended to be happy, whereas when workers were around subordinates and peers, they expressed themselves more honestly.

In the study, psychologist Jane Shumski Thomas warns that burying negative feelings leads to lower satisfaction and sometimes burnout — that is to say, quitting.

Want to be more productive and happier? Tell your boss how you really feel. Science says you should.

Let’s turn the equation around and see how it looks: Happiness multiplied by long work hours over many decades equals a fulfilled life. I’ll let you know in 40 years or so how it worked out.

Like Pharrell Williams once wisely caroled all over the radio for way too many months, “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.”

Monster Wants to Know: Are you happy and engaged at work? Does it make a difference? Share with us in the comment section.

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