Finding happiness at work

Finding happiness at work

Achieving happiness at work is a skill that can be acquired, says Jane Howard, chief people officer of San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre Hotels. She flexed her happiness muscle recently–one cold February morning in a not-so-pleasant airport terminal.

Howard had woken at 3:30 a.m. to catch a flight to Los Angeles, which would be followed by an oft-contentious meeting with the leadership of a workers union. First on her agenda was to try to negotiate some $700,000 in concessions from the union leaders to help ensure the hotel partnership avoided bankruptcy. Previous union meetings had devolved into vulgar screaming matches, and Howard had every reason to believe this one would be the same, or worse.

So she changed her approach. While waiting to board, she pulled out her journal and reflected upon everything in her life she felt grateful for. She then extended those feelings to the union leaders. Rather than visualizing them as the enemy, she focused on their commonalities. Both she and the union leaders were concerned for the employees’ well-being, and everyone was just trying to do their jobs.

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