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Marty kills rats… but if you asked him what his job is he’d say it was “solving problems” and “helping people.” How we view our work can contribute greatly to our daily levels of happiness — far more than money or status.

Dr. Laurie Santos examines how we all came to ignore the importance of job satisfaction and hears from Professor Amy Wrzesniewski about “job crafting” – the reframing skill that happy people like Marty use to see their careers as more than just a way to make money.

To learn more. . .

Barry Schwartz website

Barry Schwartz book “Why We Work”

Amy Wrzesniewski website

Links to references from this episode:

“According to a recent Gallup poll from 2018, only about a third of American workers report feeling really engaged with their jobs.”

“Take one Linkedin Survey from 2014.”

“Consider the results of one study, which has surveyed the values of incoming college freshman for the last half century.”

Stolzenberg, E. B., Eagan, M. K., Romo, E., Tamargo, E. J., Aragon, M. C., Luedke, M., & Kang, N. (2019). The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2018. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA.

“But if you earn $100,000 a year, doubling or even tripling that won’t have any effect on your emotions or stress-levels.”

Kahneman, D., & Deaton, A. (2010). High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 107(38), 16489-16493.

“But they soon end up experiencing what’s come to be known as the golden handcuffs”

“ The people who have these presitgious jobs have suicide rates that are one and a half times those of the average population”

“Back in the 1700s, a famous Scottish philosopher visited an innovative manufacturing operation: a pin factory”

Smith, A. (2010). The Wealth of Nations: An inquiry into the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations. Harriman House Limited.

“BF Skinner, who at the time was probably the most famous and most influential living psychologist.”

Schwartz, B. (2015). Why we work. Simon and Schuster.

“Workers prefer jobs that allow for meaning and independence and creativity. And employers should prefer those jobs too, since that ultimately helps their bottom line.”

Schwartz, B. (2015). Why we work. Simon and Schuster.

“Research back in the 1980s had shown that people tend to take one of three orientations towards their work: they either think of it as a job, a career, or a calling.”

Wrzesniewski, A. (2010). Callings. In K. S. Cameron & G. Spreitzer (Eds.), In Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship. Oxford University Press

“But Amy did something different – she studied how positive work orientations develop in seemingly not-so-great jobs.”

Wrzesniewski, A., & Dutton, J. E. (2001). Crafting a job: Revisioning employees as active crafters of their work. Academy of management review, 26(2), 179-201

“Amy calls this technique job crafting — the act of redesigning the specific work you do to match your personal strengths and values and thus amplify the sense of meaning you get from your job.”

Wrzesniewski, A. (2014). Engage in job crafting. In G. M. Spreitzer & J. E. Dutton (Eds.), How to be a Positive Leader: Small Actions, Big Impact. San Francisco: Berrett Koehler.

The Host

Dr. Laurie Santos

Dr. Laurie Santos is Professor of Psychology and Head of Silliman College at Yale University. Professor and podcast host Dr. Laurie Santos is an expert on human cognition and the…