Your Work, Your Happiness, and Your Health: Finding the Perfect Balance

nonprofit jobs

The connection seems simple enough: the more you like your job, the happier you’ll be in every aspect of your life. The happier you are, the healthier your body becomes.

The only problem is, this connection isn’t always easy to bring to life. Far too many Americans find themselves working tedious office jobs solely for the paycheck that pays the bills, and unfortunately for the majority of people, this mindset is only a recipe for disaster.

An overwhelming lack of engagement and drive in the American workforce has led to two new trends, especially among younger workers: First, they’re increasingly choosing freelance careers that allow for more creativity and control than a traditional office job. Second, workers are starting to seek nonprofit jobs and temp work.

So how exactly do both of these trends provide a viable solution for workers who are, ultimately, seeking happiness and health? Here are a few reasons why the career you choose — or the career you end up with — is connected to your overall wellbeing:

  1. Money is a terrible motivator
    Okay, on a fundamental level, money is a great motivator. And for people who are concerned about their finances, nonprofit firms can provide a nice paycheck. But this only lasts up to a certain point; once you’re making enough money to live comfortably, no amount of extra money will make you happier.
  2. It starts off physical…
    High blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, a weakened immune system — all of these smaller factors build up when you’re working at a job you dislike. While 40 hours out of the week may not seem like much, keep in mind that these eight hours of work per day account for around half of your waking hours.
  3. …And then becomes psychological
    Mental illnesses are still highly stigmatized and notoriously difficult to diagnose, but medical experts agree that too much stress and negativity — even if it’s just in the workplace — can cause a plethora of mental health problems that permeate into every aspect of daily life.
  4. Employees need to connect with their work
    It doesn’t matter if you get enjoyment out of running an insurance firm or from serving up lattes at 5 a.m. — Whatever makes you tick, that’s what matters. A company that tries to make every employee fit into one cookie cutter “ideal employee” won’t be successful and have happy employees — it’s that simple.
  5. The organization’s message has to connect everyone
    This is what makes so many people look for nonprofit jobs, because they’re really proud about what their employer stands for. The majority of adults (63%) donate or volunteer because they just want to give back to their communities (so it’s no surprise that individuals provided 72% of all charitable donations in 2012, and 25% of American consistently volunteer their time each year). Feeling that each individual contribution is making a difference is a major trend among people who work nonprofit jobs.

If nothing else, just try asking yourself one question: Do you define your work as a job, or as a career?

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