When you forget the reason you started a business, your happiness will plummet
4 min read
04 June 2018
In the words of recently-departed funny man, Ken Dodd, happiness is the greatest gift to possess. But narrowing down exactly what makes someone happy is a whole different ball game, especially when it comes to business and achieving the mystical perfect work-life balance.
As you’d imagine, I would say the majority of plumbers have a pretty happy disposition. But now I’ve been backed up by a new Happiness Index.
According to the research, conducted by experiences firm Boundless, plumbers have the happiest lives of all professions, followed hot on their heels by builders. At the other end of the scale, those with the most miserable lives work in advertising, along with social workers.
The study, which also looked at how happy people are in the job they do, found that not one plumber they questioned were unhappy at work.
Happy in life, happy at work. Perhaps after thousands of years, those in the world’s second oldest profession are the first to achieve true work-life nirvana?
I’ve always said, get an apprenticeship in a good trade and you’ll never be out of work. And by mixing that level of security with a passion for a trade and enjoyment in doing something they love, brings that level of happiness that so many people crave.
So, how do others follow the same sacred path to enlightenment, apart from becoming a plumber? Well, I would say that being your own boss and running an SME can play a big part, but that isn’t always the case.
While there were a number of self-employed professions on the index such as property developers, I was disappointed to find that entrepreneurs weren’t anywhere on the list.
Thankfully they also weren’t on the unhappy in life or work lists, but to my mind, they should be front and centre on the Happiness Index.
Maybe, because for entrepreneurs, work and life are pretty much the same thing, it’s not so much finding a balance as trying to extract one from the other.
I have come across so many entrepreneurs who work “in” the business during the day and “on” the business at night to keep on top of things. While it’s often inevitable, it’s not a healthy way forward, both physically and mentally.
Entrepreneurs are a breed apart and thrive on the challenge of running a business, but it shouldn’t be at the detriment of why they are doing it in the first place.
Yes, there will be those who are in it just because they love the thrill of being in business, but the majority of those who become entrepreneurs do it because they need to put a roof over the heads of their family and buy school uniforms for their kids.
If the balance is wrong then the principal reason for being in business is easily forgotten and that will only lead to unhappiness.
I have always thought there are a lot of similarities between plumbing and entrepreneurship, not least the element of problem solving and sense of achievement they both can bring.
Perhaps there could be more cross over between the two, and let plumbers share their greatest gift, so business owners can enjoy a little bit more happiness in their lives?