How to Achieve Happiness as a Proposal Professional: Create a Satisfying Work Environment

From the ancient Greeks to the present, we have debated the meaning of happiness.  Today, there is a renewed interest in this subject from economists, political scientists, and psychologists.  What makes people happy, and how might proposal professionals achieve a feeling of well-being inside and outside the workplace?

If social capital and not income or commodities is the most important source of happiness and life satisfaction for proposals professionals, then I think we need to re-examine the way we work and live.

Right before he died in 1832, the philoso­pher of utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham wrote a touching birthday message to a young girl.

“Create all the happiness you are able to create: remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you to add something to the pleasure of others, or to diminish some­thing of their pains.  And for every grain of enjoy­ment you sow in the bo­som of another, you shall find a harvest in your own bosom; while every sorrow which you pluck out from thoughts and feelings of a fellow crea­ture shall be replaced by beautiful peace and joy in the sanctuary of your soul.”

This is eloquent and sage advice.  Our happi­ness is directly related to the social connec­tions we create around us.  Happiness comes from two places – from within and from our families, friends, neigh­bors, co-workers, and from engagement in our communities.  If we build social capital where we live and work, then we are likely to be happy.

These are 10 key features of the work environment that are correlated with high levels of well-being:

  • Opportunity for personal control and autonomy.
  • Opportunity to use skills and abilities.
  • Clear and realistic goals.
  • Variety in work tasks.
  • Job security.
  • Appropriate compensation.
  • Good working conditions.
  • Supportive supervision.
  • Good relationships with co-workers.
  • Being valued.

Work toward creating these features in your workplace.  Even achieving some of them will make you and your co-workers happier people.

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