The Best Job In The World

Purpose is the reason you journey.  Passion is the fire that lights your way.

~ Oscar Wilde

Being your own boss might be even better for you than it sounds.  New research has identified a key ingredient to securing a happy and fulfilling career - working for yourself.

A recent study conducted by academics from the universities of Sheffield and Exeter shows the self-employed both enjoy their work more and find it more rewarding – despite longer hours and less job security – than those who work for others. 

The researchers analyzed data from 5,000 workers in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand across a number of sectors – including heath, finance, retail, real estate and education.  Self-employed people were happier and more engaged with their jobs than those working in any other profession. They were also more successful in their careers and felt more satisfied with their professional contributions. Comparison of employees across four job grades – non-managerial workers, supervisors, middle managers and senior managers and director – showed that non-managerial company workers were the least satisfied and engaged.

Co-author Professor Ilke Inceoglu, from the University of Exeter Business School, said: “Being engaged in their jobs makes people feel energised and pleased with their own contribution. Measuring how engaged people are in their work is therefore a really useful way to gauge their wellbeing and shows we must move beyond just looking at job satisfaction.” 

Those who work for themselves also report greater opportunities for innovation, enjoy taking on bigger challenges and find satisfaction in meeting higher standards.  Co-author Professor Peter Warr, from the University of Sheffield, notes: “Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have. They have the freedom to innovate, express their own views, have influence beyond their own role and compete with other companies and people.”  The study was published in the journal Work, Employment and Society.

The bottom line is this - while self-employment comes with a number of stresses, including long hours and more uncertainty, people who work in this way tend to be happier and even healthier, at least mentally and emotionally. It’s an option worth considering.

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