https://www.amazon.com/Hacking-American ... 1101982586
The author examines science behind happiness vs. pleasure, contrasting the impact of serotonin vs. dopamine. He then offers guidance on integrating his findings into life. Essentially four legs - belong to a community, contribute somehow, take care of yourself, and cook real food.
The section on contributing via work stood out to me. My last job ticked every single box in his bad list. It was a house of cards, propped up by extensive coping strategies. Covid-19 induced distancing knocked those out. Everything toppled shortly after. Probably for the best.
The good list - I'm not sure I've ever had a job like that. Maybe tiny glimpses at rare points in time, but nothing close to the full set of positive qualities. I've never looked for them. I always thought of work as a thing to suffer through, while maximizing income. It's interesting to think about his good list. Finding a way to contribute like that - maybe I'd like it. Maybe I need it.
Anyway, I thought it was worth sharing:
Good JobsThere are jobs that make you feel good about yourself, and others that destroy your self esteem. If your job or your boss:
1. Disconnects you from your values - for instance, pitting the bottom line against the quality of work
2. Takes you for granted
3. Requires pointless or redundant work
4. Treats people unfairly
5. Overrides your better judgement
6. Isolates or marginalizes people
7. Puts people in harms way - physically or emotionally
Then you have a job that will generate significant unhappiness.
But if you are one of the lucky ones, you experience your job as:
1. Self transcendent - that is, it matters more to others than it does to you
2. Poignant - challenging at difficult times
3. Episodic - with peak experiences that vary
4. Reflective - you can see the role the completed work product will have on society
5. Personal - that you are proud to have performed it
Then you have a job that can provide both life satisfaction and contentment. Note that both sets of job characteristics that impact your mental health are exclusive of salary.