Happy to Be Working, or Working to Be Happy?

Although this question seems pretty straightforward, the answer might be crucial to a company’s success as well as an individual’s happiness.

Happy to Be Working, or Working to Be Happy?

Although this question seems pretty straightforward, the answer might be crucial to a company’s success as well as an individual’s happiness. Today, more than ever, those two go hand in hand. Are you happy to be working nine-to-five in order to sustain happiness during your five-to-nine, or are you working to be happy during your nine-to-five and five-to-nine?

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mr Millennial, but you can call me Siemon. Graduated Law major, former project manager at an animation studio and current business developer at intuo. So uhh yeah… Law school equals lawyer, you'd think? Not so much. This might have raised an eyebrow or two, depending on who’s reading this. But it’s the direct result of my answer to the question at hand: Am I happy to just be working, or do I want to be working to be happy?

Changing of the guard

I was raised by a generation that was eager to start their career at a company with hopes of finishing there as well. It offered them security about where they were headed and how to get there. The fact that they had a job made them happy, but actually doing the job did not. What exactly that job was, didn’t really factor into it all that much. This soon-to-retire Baby Boomer generation was mostly happy to be working.

If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. As cheesy as it may sound, its core idea is pretty spot on for me. By agreeing to the trade-off that your work is something you have to do to be happy when you aren’t working, you’re actually selling yourself short. Settling for a job isn’t helping you nor your employer. Indulge me in this thought experiment:


Let’s say the average person works around 45 years in a lifetime. Working nine-to-five, factoring in traffic and some work-related issues arising in your five-to-nine you’ll probably be dedicating around 12 hours a day to your work. For the sake of this exercise, I’m using a five-day work week. So those 12 hours include some work time during your weekend. You’ll probably take some well-deserved vacation so let’s say you’re working eleven months in a year.

12 hours x 5 days x 48 weeks x45 years = 129.600 hours =5.400 days = 14,8 years


Let it sink in for a bit. If you’re doing a job that isn’t making you happy, then by default it’s making you either unhappy or indifferent. I’m not sure which is worse. Are you really okay making the conscious decision to be unhappy for close to 15 years?

I wasn’t going to allow myself to be unhappy and made the decision to find a job that would allow me to be happy. Career paths are no longer set in stone, and millennials are looking for opportunities where they can do something they love. Their career will be one of choice, rather than desperation. They need more than a job that solely offers a financial incentive. Personal growth, making an impact, feeling respected and appreciated have risen to the top of their wish list. They need a job that checks all those boxes.

Various studies show that this Millennial generation will form 50% of the global workforce by 2020, and CEO's are realising that attracting and keeping younger workers is probably their biggest challenge. Being aware of this, and actually offering a workplace fit for these high-demanding young potentials are two completely different things. Talent management has long operated in a very rigid structure. Fixed career paths, annual reviews, top-down feedback that are actually instructions in disguise… It’s a whole new world of working, and change won’t happen overnight.

The proof is in the pudding...

Two-way feedback, re-aligning personal and company objectives, continuous coaching and lots more are being demanded, and it’s adapt or die for most companies. Intuo’s platform can facilitate that change towards a talent management fit for today’s workforce by streamlining this process in an easy-to-use online tool. A tool that is by no means a quick fix and requires a change in company mindset. To put it briefly, companies are currently in situation A and need to evolve to situation B. We’ve created a vehicle that can help them to get there, but they have to be willing to drive this vehicle in order to get to B as fast and easy as possible.

During my short stay at intuo so far, I can tell you that they practice what they preach. I’ve received numerous one-on-one coaching sessions, felt respected and appreciated and really feel this environment allows me to be myself and grow into the best version of Mr Millennial I can be.

I’m working to be happy, are you?