Blog: Dave LeggettWork and happiness

Dave Leggett | 29 December 2006

I recall a night out with colleagues after a hard day's grafting many years ago. There was nothing special about the day, but a few of us had been slaving particularly hard over numbers in front of screens all day long and were in need of a few wind-down beers.

If you've ever had to enter every make, model, body-style, fuel, segment and platform code sold in say, Germany or Sweden, working from an official new registrations document that comes out monthly, entering the data into a spreadsheet that then gets uploaded into a database for further playing, you'll know what I mean. The official raw data has to be entered and it's a mindless task in a sense, but you can't just get a temp in to do it because you have to know model designations, segment definitions and how the data has been put together in the reports - and that comes with experience. Attention to detail was critical, with no room for error, spreadsheet totals having to agree with the official published etc. You get the picture. Anyway, there's a certain satisfaction in ploughing through and reaching the end with a task like that.  

Getting back to the after hours drinks, it was one of those sessions that went on and it was in a curry house later on that someone dropped the question casually into the conversation: 'Do you work to live or do you live to work?'

It's an interesting question to think about, discuss, along, perhaps, with what makes people truly happy? Having or doing? What about status? Or the simple pleasure in losing yourself in your work, whatever the tasks may be...

Link below is to a thought-provoking article in the current Economist

Happiness and economics


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