How to be happy at work? DO YOUR JOB!
In the last column, I cited three means to higher happiness at work – intimacy with God, self-possession (keeping control of your own happiness) and practicing virtue. Let’s add one more:
Sit down, shut up and do your job! Well, not exactly. Just the do your job part. I first heard the whole phrase when consulting for a company that was trying to improve its culture. The sit down, shut up part wasn’t working too well. But the do your job part is essential to happiness on lots of levels, and entirely in your control.
Plato famously defines the virtue of justice by likening it to the ideal or good city, the Kallipolis. The citizens make the city just or unjust. And guess how? By either doing or not doing their respective jobs. “Each person must practice one of the pursuits in the city, the one for which he is naturally best suited … Justice is doing one’s own work and not meddling with what is not one’s own.” (Book Four, The Republic) Plato says: Do your job!
One of the biggest aggravations in the workplace is people not doing their own jobs, as well as meddling in other people’s work. Both are violations of justice and injustice, and instigators of unhappiness. One company I work with insists on each employee “staying in your own lane.” Makes sense.
So our fourth key to happiness at work is to consistently, competently and conscientiously do your job. Drive well in your own lane. That will not only increase your happiness, but others as well. Happiness says: Do your job!