The “happiest” jobs in America
Looking for a better work-life balance, compensation, opportunities for advancement, and fulfilling tasks on the job? Each year, professional resource site CareerBliss.com surveys tens of thousands of workers to find the “happiest” jobs in America.
The 2014 list-toppers might surprise you: Research and teaching assistants. Why? Many are transitional positions between college and career, which accounts for the high marks survey respondents gave to the flexibility and advancement qualities of assistant positions. Average salary for these detail-oriented workers is around $33,600.
For more information, visit CareerBliss.com.
Break your smartphone habit
If you’ve got a smartphone, chances are you check it compulsively. You may not even be conscious of the habit. Recent studies suggest that, on average, we check our phones between 110 to 150 times a day. That can add up to a huge timewaster and concentration-sapper at work and beyond.
Want to cut back? Turn off nonessential notifications in your settings. If that doesn’t help, you may need to uninstall some of the peskier apps. If you want uninterrupted time to concentrate, you might want to activate Airplane Mode rather than simply muting your phone.
Need more help? Several apps, like BreakFree, can monitor your activity and impose caps on it if needed. Set up an auto-reply for text messages and turn off notifications during set times of the day and night. BreakFree, StayOnTask, and AppDetox are all good options for Android phones.
Middle-skill health careers boom
It’s no secret that as the baby boomers age, medical care providers are going to need a massively expanded workforce to meet demand. Of the top 25 fastest growing occupations, 17 are related to healthcare, and careers like home health aides and physical therapist assistants are expected to grow by nearly 50 percent by 2022.
While some health professions require many years of higher ed, quite a few health careers are so-called “middle-skill jobs,” requiring two-year degrees, one-year certificates, or training that can be completed in as little as eight weeks. Earnings for these jobs are often upwards of $50,000. At CareerOneStop.org, a Labor Department job search site, search for state wage data, employment trends, and more.
Flexibility: Part of the “new normal”
Flexible work schedules for full-time workers have become more common since the onset of the recession in 2008, the Families and Work Institute finds. A new survey of employers nationwide revealed that more than 2 in 3 companies allow employees to manage the times they come and go from work. Employers that are most likely to offer more flexibility and other benefits are nonprofits, those with more women employees, and those with fewer hourly employees.
Employees who enjoy greater flexibility at work have:
• Greater levels of engagement
• Higher job satisfaction
• Stronger loyalty to their employers
• Less stress “spillover” between work and home
• Better mental health
Families and Work Institute (familiesandwork.org)
Happy workers, happy company
Besides the obvious health and quality-of-life benefits of happiness for employees, job satisfaction produces tangible returns for companies, too.
A study by risk management firm Towers Watson found that companies with high levels of employee “engagement”—that rightful sense of worth, belonging, and importance—saw a 19.2 percent increase in operating income.
Companies with low levels of employee engagement, on the other hand, saw a 32.7 percent decline in operating income. The takeaway? Something good that bosses already know: Positivity boosts productivity.