My Work Happiness Manifesto

Gretchen over at the Happiness project got me thinking about my own work happiness manifesto. She gave me the spark that I needed. So I sat down to write it and I had too many ideas floating around in my brain. As the days turned into weeks I couldn’t get it just right, until today. After letting my manifesto brew, I finally finished it. It just took a while to release itself from my subconscious.

Work happiness is as important as any part of my life. When I am happy at work it makes the rest of my life easier to enjoy. My manifesto serves as a guide for my own work happiness.

Here is my Work Happiness Manifesto:

  1. Share stories (Good and Bad – a little complaining can be good for bonding).
  2. Know yourself.
  3. Watch your emotions (even when I’m feeling down, my emotions can still be intriguing).
  4. When you are struggling, ask yourself, “How can I enjoy this situation?” (Notice how your creativity takes over. This technique helps me focus on any tiny sliver of a positive).
  5. Office design matters.
  6. Be weird (We are all a little weird, embrace it and let it out).
  7. Seek out your purpose (When you believe in what you do it’s easier to do great work).
  8. It’s your responsibility to be happy at work.
  9. Happy employees = Happy customers = Loyalty all around (Win – Win – Win).
  10. Give honest compliments like they are going out of style.
  11. There is beauty in every single moment (We just have to be open to it).
  12. Find the fun in the game (Work is a game from corporate politics to arbitrary deadlines. Don’t take it too seriously).
  13. Healthy food makes it easier to be happy.
  14. Creativity is vital at every job (Otherwise boredom sets in).
  15. Relax while you are listening. (If you are too tense, you’ll be missing half the message).
  16. Trust your gut (Most of the time it will be right).
  17. Stay curious (I enjoy working when I’m discovering new solutions).
  18. “Work is overrated.” – Jim Maloney (I agree if it feels like work, but if it’s fun there is nothing more exhilarating).
  19. Bring back sensuality to your work (It’s not just about the brain; work is also about our senses).
  20. Try something new every day.


What would be on your Work Happiness manifesto?


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  1. Great manifesto Karl! I’ll be including some of those in mine, in particular “It’s your responsibility to be happy at work.” We often look for someone else to do this for us but the only way it will work is if we do it ourselves.

    I’d like to add ‘Get to know your colleagues.’ Sometimes we’re so focused on getting the job done that we don’t spend time getting to know those we work with. This doesn’t mean we have to go out after work or even for lunch. Just some conversation before a meeting starts, at the coffee station or water cooler. Many projects involve teams and it’s more efficient if the team has some understanding of one another and a feeling of camaraderie.

  2. LOVE your manifesto! The Happiness Project actually was one of the factors that inspired me to start Positively Present so it makes me feel like we’re connected in this great, The Happiness Project inspiration circle of life. 🙂 I think #2 and #8 are the most important things you have written here. It’s so important to know who you are (this ultimately makes you happier) and it’s equally as important to recognize that it’s up to YOU to make yourself happy. Work (and your cramped little cubicle, in my case) is certainly not going to do it for you. Good for you for putting this together — it’s great!

  3. Great stuff and I like the guiding principles.

    I wrote some stuff but didn’t formalize into a manifest which would be a great move.

    Meanwhile, here’s 3 things top of mind:
    1. lift others up
    2. play at your craft
    3. play to your strengths and limit liabilities

    Another one that serves me well though is to think in terms of a portfolio of results and to treat work as a collection of experiences and make the most of each one … good or bad … carry the good forward or find the lessons.

  4. Hi Karl: I love your manifesto. I would add: “Make friends at work. Everything is more enjoyable when you have your friends by your side.”