Happiness at Work? It’s Possible Even if You Don’t Work at Zappos.

I hope most of you have read, “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh, CEO at Zappos.com.  I promise I read it for more reasons than my love of shoes. It’s an easy read with great quotes like:

“It’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long difficult words but rather short easy words like, “What about lunch?”.Winnie-the-Pooh

Along the same lines, I also read Inc. Magazine, the actual magazine because I’m old-school like that.  One of the articles talked about the 17 ways to be happier at work.  SEVENTEEN.  Come on, if you need 17 suggestions on how not to hate working then my guess is you’re in the wrong place/job.

That said, there were a few of the 17 points I felt worthy of passing along.  My top 3:

“Remember you get the same amount of time every day as everyone else.”

Essentially this nugget reminds us that we get the same 24 hours in a day as those around us.  Your co-worker who constantly gets things in on time or volunteers for a tough project doesn’t have a secret stash of time.

Also, if you’re one of those types who constantly talks about how late you worked or how early you got up to work – just stop.  It annoys the crap out of everyone around you and frankly, doesn’t get you any sympathy points.  Nor does sending emails at 2am.  Really.  I get the occasional, “I couldn’t sleep so decided to be productive”, but when you’re consistently sending emails at all hours it simply means you need a life or you need to seek professional help for your sleep issues.

“Don’t waste precious energy on malice and gossip.”

This is soooo hard to do, I get it.  However, if you’re looking for more hours in your day (see above) THIS is a great suggestion.  The author asked before you tell or listen to such a story, ask yourself, “1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary? 4) Would I want somebody telling a similar story about me?”

See, I just saved you even more time because with that gem of a lesson you can probably skip your religious service this week.

“Remember that nobody is in charge of your happiness except you. “

“While some work environments are inherently difficult, if you’re consistently miserable it’s your fault. ”  Bingo.  Some of the best career advice came from my first boss – ultimately YOU are in charge of your own career.  Not your company, not your boss, not your family…you.  So if you’re not jazzed by your current gig then either leave, figure it out, or shut up.

Along with shoes, my happiness does come from what I do on a daily basis.  I can’t even call it “work” or a “job” because it’s so much more than that…which for me is how I know I’m in the right place.

Hallelujah. There can be happiness at organizations other than Zappos!

Hit me in the comments with your happiness at work tips and tricks…

FOT Background Check

Kathy Rapp
Kathy Rapp is the President of hrQ, where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent or HR Consultants to drive business results.  Prior to joining hrQ, Kathy booked more than 15 years of human resources leadership experience working for such companies as Morgan Stanley and First Data Corporation.  A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent issues can be addressed via the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen  (David Lee/Sammy and sadly, Gary Cherone).


  1. Rory Trotter says:

    Kathy, this is a great post.

    I particularly like you last point about everyone being in charge of their own happiness.

    There is a company culture somewhere for everyone. If someone isn’t happy in their current roles there is certainly somewhere they can go and be happy.

    Thanks for sharing and keep writing.



    • Kathy Rapp says:

      Thanks, Rory! I do think there is a culture, company and job out there for everyone to be happy in! Appreciate your comments.

  2. Darren says:

    Kathy, thanks for the post.

    We often forget that we control our own happiness. Finding work you love and a place you enjoy doing that work has a value all its own.

    I also like the first reminder that we all have the same amount of work. An early boss told me he would always take the person who leaves on time and hits deadlines over the person staying late. The person leaving on time probably can take on more but the person leaving late/coming in early is at capacity.


    • Kathy Rapp says:

      Thanks for the comments Darren. Sounds like we had the same early-on boss!

    • Kathy Rapp says:

      I just saw it was “THE” Darren! We miss you in Houston. Hope all is well in the NW!

  3. Molly says:

    Im sharing this article with my entire team! Sometimes it feels as though there is a competition – who is more stressed? That environment is draining and very negative. Its a great reminder for all of us that is you are miserable, over-stressed or have too much on your plate take charge and make a change. Thank you for bringing light to this.

    • Kathy Rapp says:

      Wow – thanks Molly! You are so right re: competition. I’ve worked with people/in environments like that and “draining” is absolutely the word!

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