Does your job give you Joy? Here is a way to find out and measure it!

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently over cocktails. The best conversations start when having cocktails with friends don’t you think?

She said that she had been asked  whether she had joy in the work she did by one of her bosses. That started an interesting conversation.

Its not often we are asked that. More likely it’s: Is the job going well?  The job all that you thought it was?  Are you happy at what you do? and so on!

It started my mind thinking what is the meaning of joy and is it the same as being happy and how do we measure it?

So I did some research, asked some people and it seemed that most interchanged the words automatically and then I came across a great blog by@briancromer, which gave me the answer to my questions and at the same time offered a practical way to measure Joy.


Brian made the observation that “Frequently these two words,  joy/happiness, are used as one and the same.  While they do share some characteristics, they are actually different.”

He states that happiness is an emotion usually directly related to circumstances that are currently happening.  So when the circumstances are good and going our way, we feel happy.  On the other hand, when we do not get what we want, or when things do not go our way, we feel sad and are not happy. “

All these are temporary and bring temporary emotional happiness, or a state of unhappiness.

On the other hand Brain says that ”Joy is something entirely different from happiness.  Joy is attitude of the heart.”  I Like that!

Joy is something that lasts; happiness is something that is temporary. When happiness fades away, joy remains.

Joy is a state of mind. It comes from within, and cannot come from anywhere else. So we can control it and is a key part to the shadow we cast as a leader.

It seems therefore that to feel the emotion of Joy you must be in the present and the power comes from within. Not concerned or thinking about the past or the future.

When conducting my coaching and mentoring work I have to prepare to be “ fully in the moment and in the present-zone”,  in other words be there for the person without distraction and give fully of  myself.

I get it! but how do we harness this source of engagement, and how do we measure it? Then I read a comment from Sean White one of Brian’s followers who said that

“Happiness is like a thermometer that changes based  on the environment around it. Joy is a thermostat that we can learn to set and will effect the environment around it. “ ( and is the foundation of who we want to be)

So there we have it the measure!

Lets use

“The temp-thermo tool!” as our personal Joy and Health Check.

This is something that we can all use to measure our Joy whether in our place of work or worship or with our  friends and all relationships – after all when we get mad at something our temp goes up to red!!!

Not so good for clear thinking or our emotional health.

Check whether we are truly where we want to be in our heart, or giving of our best, and being the leader we want to be.

So next time we feel our temp rising lets check it against that thermostat! Lets stop and check it against the temp-thermo tool!




About HRMexplorer

Managing Director - Human Capital Europe and USA - My ability is to recognize ingrained assumptions and patterns of operation that aren’t productive, and offer practical, cost-effective and value-based solutions.

Posted on June 5, 2010, in HRMexplorer Blogs and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Great post–again! Thank you, Peter, for sharing your valuable perspective.

  2. What a wonderful read and great thinking point, Peter! For me, this reinforces my perspective that “I work to live” vs. “I live to work.” I think it is perfectly acceptable to feel joy in our lives and perfectly acceptable to be (just) happy in our work. I view “joy” as the top tier for how I want to feel in my life — big picture, if you will. If I’m happy in my work, then I feel my temp is okay. If that happiness changes and goes in a different direction, it will have an overall impact of my joy.

  3. After some thought i agree there is a difference between joy and happiness . Do you get up in the morning and think oh no i have to go into that place again to day
    Maybe your work is a means to an end because it pays the bills at the end of the month then no you won’ t have any joy in any of those that has its own effects on your self and others. so if the answer to that is yes then, are you just going to continue like that for the rest of your working life or are going be brave and do something about it , by finding another job or maybe a total career change .
    so yes i agree if you heart is not in what ever you do then no you won’t have any joy .

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