It is a hazard of our economic system that the majority of us (that is, adult humans participating in capitalism) must have a job in order to fulfill certain comforts. We need money for food and shelter, an RRSP or other structured savings for the future — and sometimes, heck, just a reason to get up in the morning.
Some lucky workers find fulfillment in their actual jobs: their “calling” and their career have happily dovetailed. But we at DFC are interested in how everyone can find happiness at work. Part of that involves taking control. But sometimes that is just plain not possible, and we have to look at more unusual ways to be happy.
An interesting recent study shows that there is a connection between an individual’s history of charity donations, and their overall happiness. While having money for yourself doesn’t really make you happier after a certain point, giving it away to others does — and also appears to affect your physical health as well:
“People who donate to charity have lower blood pressure, [project leader Prof. Elizabeth Dunn of UBC] said, even when controlling for factors like income, wealth, age and exercise, which suggests the giving itself is responsible.
Dunn measured people’s blood pressure before and after giving, and found it fell when people gave significantly to other people or causes, but did not change when they spent money on themselves.
The extent to which people feel connected to the cause is also important, she said, with more of an effect when people feel personally connected to the cause to which they are giving.”
So if you’ve done your darnedest to find something fun in your current job, but can’t, you can try making your own happiness by donating part of your income it to a charity that speaks to you. (If you need suggestions, I find the list at The Life You Can Save to be well-vetted and very helpful.) The charity can do its important and necessary work, and you derive the emotional and health benefits of giving. Plus, you can revel in the subversion of using the money you earned through your misery for the greater good — Everybody wins!