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Job is an integral part of the contemporary society. Only few people have an opportunity not to work and enjoy life while most of the population has to go to work every day to earn money for living. The problem is that many individuals are not happy with their jobs. With regard to this fact, the main purpose of the current paper is to study the reasons why some employees are not happy at their workplaces. Having related happiness to job satisfaction, the research aims to consider the main factors which may influence the development of happiness and unhappiness at work. In particular, the literature review has allowed defining that satisfaction from life, income, relationships at the workplace, work activities, leadership style, organizational career management, and career adaptability, and employee engagement contribute to the worker’s feeling of happiness. However, each person is an individual with some specific desires and expectations, and each factor needs to be considered in combination with the rest in a specific case.
Work is a place where people spend most of their active lives (if not to count the time for sleep). When attending kindergartens, some dream of going to schools; having entered schools, they start dreaming about colleges and universities where they will gain qualifications. Further, having obtained the necessary knowledge and skills, students begin thinking about the places where they would like to work. At each stage of personal and professional development, people set some specific goals and purposes. However, in many cases, having occupied the position they have dreamt about, individuals are not satisfied with what they have. The reality is rather severe; few people are really satisfied with their jobs. Therefore, the overall quality of life lowers, which leads to numerous problems in the society. According to Layard (2011), work is the third most important thing which affects human happiness. Since an average working day lasts for 8 hours, and people need about 8 hours of sleep to remain healthy, only 8 hours are left for daily activities. However, paying attention to the fact that 8 hours at work do not include the time needed to get there, it becomes obvious that much less time is left for personal life. Therefore, job satisfaction is an important factor which requires much attention and analysis of the factors which can influence it (Wesarat, Sharif & Majid 2015). Each person may think that they have different approaches to happiness at work. Nevertheless, there is a specific set of factors whose consideration can explain why job does not make them happy. In particular, the satisfaction from life, income, relationships at the workplace, work activities, leadership style, organizational career management and career adaptability, and employee engagement should be studied as they can lead to employee unhappiness if improperly managed.
As stated above, scholars relate happiness at work to different factors. Wesarat, Sharif and Majid (2015) are sure that “happiness at the workplace refers to how satisfied people are with their work and lives” (Wesarat, Sharif & Majid 2015, p. 78). Therefore, being happy at home, having no problems, no stress or other serious concerns in personal life helps people bring this positive mood to their workplaces. In its turn, life satisfaction is assessed through a number of factors that can include absence of any diseases, stable emotional condition, happy family life, and absence of any other problems which can cause stress and depression among employees. The authors have stated that life satisfaction or subjective well-being have a direct influence on people (Wesarat, Sharif & Majid 2015). Even though the researchers have conducted a systematic analysis of the literature without providing any practical evidence, the supportive sources they have found allow taking this point for granted. Therefore, the contrary statement can be developed saying that people who are not satisfied with their lives cannot be happy at work as thinking about daily problems, they cannot focus on their responsibilities, and it leads to mistakes and work related problems which makes the issue of unhappiness at workplace even more complicated as all of the challenges are added together.
Additionally, studying the relationship between unhappiness in family life and job, Booth and van Ours (2008) have referred to the working hours as another factor to consider. Part-time job can allow people spend more time with their families, and it can be important for many individuals including young families and mothers. Booth and van Ours (2008) have come to several significant conclusions. First, they have stated that “men have the highest hours-of-work satisfaction if they work full-time without overtime hours but neither their job satisfaction nor their life satisfaction are affected by how many hours they work” (Booth and van Ours 2008, p. 77). At the same time, their research has indicated that women prefer part-time jobs, but it does not affect the level of their happiness (Booth and van Ours 2008). However, even though part time job can logically lead to employee happiness due to raised family life satisfaction, the questions about salary and income remain open as less work is usually less paid.
Therefore, the next factor that has to be considered as the one which may lead either to happiness or unhappiness at work is earnings. Caporale et al. (2009) have studied the relation between happiness at work and income, and they have found that these two parameters have a direct relation. The more a person earns, the happier he/she is. It can be inferred that financial factor is important because it gives an individual some feeling of freedom and independence. The authors conclude with effective statement that high salary can buy happiness (Caporale et al. 2009). Yet, it is difficult to agree with this statement completely as there are many other factors which affect happiness levels at workplace. Receiving high salary is beneficial, but to earn money, people still need to spend much time at work.
With regard to the stated above, one has to mention the significance of friendly and positive relationships at work as one more factor which can prevent from happiness at the workplace. Communication is vital in any sphere of life, and undoubtedly, it is an inseparable part of the professional activity of an individual. If people have tense and hostile relationships with others at the workplace, they will be reluctant to go to such environment. No one likes to be oppressed or work in the conditions which make them depressed. Bader, Hashim, and Zaharim (2013) have managed to prove the statement that good friendly relations at work lead to happiness of employees and, consequently, increase their productivity. Wright (2005) is another researcher who has managed to confirm that loneliness and absence of communication at work provoke the feeling of dissatisfaction.
Nevertheless, even though relationships are important, and having friends at work motivates people to go there, work is not the space for common interests. It is the place where individuals have to perform some specific responsibilities. Thus, when considering the factors that can cause happiness and unhappiness at work, the direct working responsibilities should be studied as well. Particular work activities can make people either happy or depressed. If people perform the duties they do not like, consider too complicated or too boring, it can cause a reluctance to do such a job. In rare cases, when one understands that such duties are temporary and can lead to better working conditions, they can better sustain such responsibilities. However, in the majority of situations, tedious or hard work from day to day does not make people happier. Concerning the mentioned above, Golparvar and Abedini (2014) have managed to show that, in most cases, happiness and unhappiness at work depend not on the job a person does, but on the way how one perceives this job. Thus, one and the same activity in the same conditions can be regarded differently by various people. Some people can be satisfied with the job and be happy from what they do, while others may feel discontented with such conditions. Moreover, when applying for a job position, people usually have some particular expectations of the responsibilities. Overall, if the expectations are not met, they are not happy with what they do.
Yet, effective leadership and the ability of a leader to communicate the tasks properly can improve the situation and make unfavorable and boring tasks to be performed in a positive way. Thus, it is crucial to analyze the leadership as one of the factors that can lead to happiness and unhappiness at work. Most of the world population works under supervision of others, and there are more subordinates than executives. Warr (2007) and Tepper (2007) have proven that poor and ineffective leadership negatively influences the level of employee happiness as the supervision which does not bring satisfaction cannot lead to happiness at the workplace. Going to a job, a person wants to show his/her knowledge and skills, and every employee is interested in performing the tasks he/she can do and wants to do. However, in case of poor leadership, the senior managers usually fail to distribute tasks and assess them effectively; they cannot correlate the amount of the work done with the skills and abilities of a particular employee. As a result, the workplace with poor leadership usually involves unhealthy working environment and negative communication in general. Overall, it seems that executives can structure the work performance and impact the overall atmosphere and working conditions. However, they usually work under the specific conditions, and they are usually framed by the company policy. Consequently, they cannot influence organizational career management and career adaptability as these are the factors which company develops without their participation.
Nevertheless, organizational career management and career adaptability are other factors which influence happiness at work. Guan et al. (2015) have studied the question having related organizational career management and career adaptability to professional success and work ability. They have come to conclusion that each employee should clearly understand what to expect from the position, whether the career development and salary increase are possible, how the changes in management can influence the overall working environment (Guan et al. 2015). Furthermore, they have proven that these factors are important in making a person happy as in case they are not followed, an employee is sure to become dissatisfied with the positon and work in general (Guan et al. 2015). Thus, failure to accomplish one’s expectations is not a problem. The issues appear when one fails to adapt to the career development and opportunities. In this situation, a person becomes unhappy with what he/she does and either quits or continues going to work unhappy and, as a rule, under stress.
To continue, employee engagement is another important factor, which leads to happiness at work. According to Markos and Sridevi (2010, p. 89), employee engagement “is distinguishable from related concepts in management such as employee commitment, organizational citizenship behaviour and job satisfaction in such a manner that employee engagement clearly reflects the two-way exchange of effort between employees and employers, and it has stretched meaning beyond the aforementioned constructs”. Thus, its lack can cause dissatisfaction. Overall, employee engagement depends on the role a person performs in the family, organizational success, quality, collaborative organizational climate, fairness at work, work pressure and control, amount of completed tasks, age, and gender. Engaged staff members perform better, and they want to do it (Markos & Sridevi 2010). Additionally, engagement at work promotes their satisfaction with what they do. Thus, they do not have time to think about any problems they may have and become unhappy. Employee involvement grabs their attention in full, makes them happy with what they do and specifically with the result of their job.
Having considered the factors which can make people unhappy at work, it is possible to conclude that the issue is in personal perspective. Employees cannot be happy and unhappy with the same task to the equal degree (Warr 2007). Depending on individual set of skills and characteristics, ambitions and desire to work, people can experience happiness and unhappiness with the same set of factors. Therefore, all the points discussed in the paper can relate to one person and may not relate to another one under the same conditions. For instance, being a driver can be a disaster for one person and the best opportunity for another one. Some specific level of income can be a good choice for one person and be a complete devastation for another. However, there are some factors which equally influence people and lead to unhappiness at work such as poor leadership and hostile relationship at work. In general, each person may have different reasons to like or dislike their job. The factors presented above identify a particular set of parameters regarding how happiness at job can be measured. Nevertheless, each case should be considered separately.
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In conclusion, the satisfaction from life, income, relationships at the workplace, work activities, leadership style, organizational career management and career adaptability, and employee engagement are the factors that can influence and help to measure employee unhappiness levels. The research has proven that happiness at work is directly related to job satisfaction. Thus, those who are not satisfied with their positions and working responsibilities cannot be happy at work. Furthermore, the analysis of several factors which can lead to unhappiness at the workplace has proven that personal perspective plays an important role. Everything is individual, and it is important to consider this fact when dealing with human satisfaction and dissatisfaction. One more important inference which can be drawn from the current study is that all the parameters are connected, and it is hardly possible to consider them separately. Therefore, for example, a person can be fully satisfied with personal life, but the job he/she likes can take too much time, and in this case, the satisfaction from life will lower and will lead to unhappiness. If one decides to refuse from some work and shift to part time job, it will raise the life satisfaction, which should raise the happiness levels. However, the income will be affected, and it will again cause the decrease of the level of happiness. Thus, answering the question why the job people do does not make them happy, a number of factors should be considered. Overall, all individuals are different, and they are guided by dissimilar intentions and expectations. The current analysis can help employees and employers see some of the factors which affect the level of happiness at work, and it can assist some of them in improving the working conditions or search for better working environment to satisfy as many parameters to make themselves as happy as possible.