Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Take the Work Happiness Quiz

checklistHow happy are you with your job?

Do you leap from bed each morning and whistle your way to the office? Or do you trudge in dreading another day of rolling the same rock up the same hill? Or maybe you’re in between: sometimes you enjoy your law life, but other times you kick yourself for not following your true passion for the culinary arts?

Now you don’t have to guess. Psychologists have come up with a multiple-choice quiz to gauge your level of work happiness.

Take the test here. Then let’s meet on the other side and chat some more.

Three Things We All Seek at Work

So how did you do? Are you above the happiness norm or below it?

The emerging field of positive psychology has given us hard data on happiness. Unlike traditional psychology – which focuses on treating dysfunction – positive psychology studies how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled.

It turns out that to be happy on the job we need three things:

  • Purpose. “We are happy at work when we find meaning in what we do, when our jobs line up with our values and when we can see the fruits of our labor,” writes Dr. Annie Peck, who wrote the book “How to be Happy at Work” and devised the happiness test. “Work becomes deeply fulfilling when we know we are having a positive impact on people and results.”
  • Alignment with personal values. When our goals at work line up with our goals for ourselves, we feel hopeful about the future. We go the extra mile and are proud of what we do. Work becomes a happy quest, not a chore.
  • Positive relationships. “Last but not least, we are happy at work when we have warm, positive relationships with colleagues, team members, and bosses. It’s an old myth that we shouldn’t be friends with people at work. In reality, we need supportive relationships at work as much as we do in any other area of life. If we like the people we work with, we give generously of our time and talents, enjoy ourselves and have fun, too.”

Note that there’s no mention of money in the above list. This doesn’t mean money has nothing to do with being happy. It simply means all the money in the world cannot buy happiness – or love, as the Beatles taught us.

The good news is that when our work gives us the three golden nuggets – purpose, hope and friendship – the financial aspects of our lives tend to fall into place.

Where To Go From Here

Taking the quiz is a first step to greater happiness at work. It brings awareness of your feelings about your job.

Build on this foundation by doing the following:

  • Make a list of all the ways you helped people today. This will show you how much your work means to others.
  • Write out a personal mission statement. What do you want to accomplish in the next six months or five years? Use your current job to help get you there.
  • Strike up a conversation with someone in the office you don’t often talk to. Don’t discuss work. Just spent some time communicating.

What makes you happy at work?


Purpose, hope, and friendships are key to happiness at work.

And happiness is a precursor to success. This is partly due to the fact that emotions impact our ability to think and reason, which in turn supports healthy behaviors and competence on the job.





About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

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