Happiness At Work Is A Dog Collar
April 7, 2014

Happiness At Work Is A Collar

Are you happy in your work? Do you wake up in the morning and willingly dive out of a warm bed, happy to rush to work, not minding at all when you leave behind the comforts of home – the even warmer loved one still curled in sleep, the kids, maybe a favorite pet, the garden bathed in sunshine, your hobbies, all the things that make you want to stay at home? You just can’t wait to get to work. Or perhaps you hate it when the alarm goes off and dread the journey to a job you can’t stand. You are in the wrong job. So if you wished to choose a career most likely to make you the happiest bunny in the burrow what would you choose. If a new bit of research by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) is anything to go by, the best thing you can do is take up the cloth, get religion, don a collar and learn to belt out the hymns. Yes, it seems the top job for satisfaction and contentment is joining the church and becoming a priest.

It is not just about the money either. UK salaries average £26,500, but vicars, who came out top in the survey of happiness at work, only averaged £20,568. Down at the bottom of the list are the pub landlords who, while earning around £5,000 a year more than the vicars, just don’t like what they do. In all, 274 occupations were rated. Down at the bottom with the pint pullers there were some relatively low paid jobs such as telephone sales staff, construction and care workers, and debt collectors but some much more lucrative careers languished at the wrong end of the happiness list too. Quantity surveyors, who pick up an average £38,885 a year came in at a lowly position, 234th in the rankings. In contrast, school secretaries, company secretaries, and fitness instructors who all had earnings below £19,000 a year, way under the UK national average, were all in the top 20. So, it looks like choosing a career path is not all about piling up the pounds (sterling), but I guess most of us knew that anyway. The problem, of course, is that happiness at work does not put food on the table – it’s the contents of the pay packet that keep the debt collectors away, which must help explain why so many people struggle on in jobs they don’t like.

So, money matters? Of course it does. Second in the list were company chief executives, who were apparently very happy in their work. Maybe the £117,000 salary oiled the corporate cogs a little.

The top 10 happiest workers were, in descending order, clergy, chief execs and senior officials, managers and proprietors in agriculture, company secretaries, quality assurance and regulatory professionals, health practice managers, medical practitioners, farmers, Hotel and accommodation managers and proprietors, and at number 10, skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades supervisors.

The bottom 10 were plastics process operatives, bar staff, care escorts, sports and leisure assistants, telephone salespersons, floorers and wall tilers, industrial cleaning process occupations, debt, rent, and cash collectors, “elementary” construction occupations, and right at the bottom as we saw before, publicans and managers of licensed premises.

What will the legions of career advice workers make of all this? How many will say to the kids leaving school or the University students about to graduate, “If you want to be happy at work, it won’t be the money that does it. Have you thought about going into the church? Whatever you do, don’t even think of going into the pub trade.” And don’t forget, there’s many a priest who likes nothing more than to call into his local pub and spread the word while sampling the produce. At least he will be able to offer condolences to the down-hearted behind the bar.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Eric Hopton is a writer, musician, artist, and photographer. He has a degree in Social Anthropology and has always been passionate about travel, having so far visited 73 countries. His music and sound work has been used in many projects around the world and can be heard on Bandcamp and Freesound, where he has contributed over 1,300 sounds under his sonic alter ego, ERH.

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