Have You Found Happiness in Your Job?

I’m incredibly fortunate that my career is so closely tied to one of my greatest passions, board game creation. I’m very happy at my job.

I had two other careers before this, one at a textbook publishing project management company and one at a nonprofit. While neither was quite as fulfilling as Stonemaier Games, I was happy for different reasons at each job.

Money hasn’t been a motivating force for my happiness in any of my three careers, but to a certain extent I’ve always always had anxiety about money. I haven’t lived paycheck to paycheck, but I was cutting it close at times in my 20s (while still trying to save and invest when possible). And even that is coming from a place of privilege, as I was always able to cover my core needs.

I still have anxiety about money, but it’s more about the uncertain future than the present. It’s a security blanket.

However, during my recent trip to Alaska, I encountered a few people who specifically mentioned that they were doing the thing that made them the happiest. I love hearing anyone say that. One of them was working at Running Reindeer Ranch, and the other was a dogsledding musher.

Their comments struck a chord with me because their jobs were so specific and so not driven by money in any way. They simply found the thing that made them the happiest, and they made it work (at least partially due to careful budgeting and lifestyle/location choices).

I’m still puzzling over my thoughts on this topic, but I was just really happy to hear some fellow human beings say that they also found happiness in their jobs, and it wasn’t related to their income. It gave me hope that anyone could find a job that makes them happy or that anyone can find happiness in their current job. Maybe not every task or every element of the job, but some part of it. That gives me hope.

What’s your current relationship with happiness at your job and money in general? Does any of this resonate with you?

7 thoughts on “Have You Found Happiness in Your Job?”

  1. I feel extremely fortunate to be in a stable enough position to work part-time in Community Management and Customer Service for Keymaster Games. Im certainly not making huge amounts of money, but I love the work that I get to do in the gaming industry and the freedom that working part-time from home provides me. Not a lot of people are able to (or choose to) work in an industry they love.

  2. I currently am in the area of work in which makes me happy, IT. It was always a hobby growing up and being able to do it as a paying job is wonderful.

    It took a lot to get where I am, doing random things just to pay bills. I won’t ever forget the people along the way, they made it all worth while.

    The position isn’t exact, but it gives me the tools and motivation to keep pushing harder.

    I too struggle with money anxiety. Some years growing up, it was a struggle, but that’s why I try to stay as humble as possible and help when I can.

  3. Wow, Cameron took the words right out of my mouth! It’s an incredible joy to work for Stonemaier Games as a part-time job with my other responsibilities as a stay-at-home mom. So I have two jobs that I love!

    When I was a full time gardener I absolutely loved my work as well, which wasn’t lucrative but at the end of each day I had been outside in the beauty of nature, learning something new most days, and trying to make a small corner of the world more beautiful. After many years my body started to ache in ways I wasn’t recovering from over time, so it made sense to pivot.

    My husband is very good with money, and he has taught me to enjoy what we do have and also that work is valuable in and of itself — showing up, trying hard, helping, being part of one another’s story. Work has inherent meaning and can help us and those around us in ways that can’t be quantified.

    • That makes me really happy, Susannah–it’s been a pleasure to have you on the team over the last few months. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story about your time as a full-time gardener. I also really like the message that “work is valuable in and of itself.”

  4. Jamey,

    From the time I started working, I’ve had a healthy relationship with money…I earn it, I save it, and I spend it (less of the latter and more of the former). I worked in real estate for about 8 years which subsidized my college payments and after college, joined the Air Force, serving on active duty for 10 years before joining the Bureau and this year celebrating my 17th year. In all of those places, I’ve been surrounded by great, hard-working people with whom I’ve had the pleasure and honor of leading, managing, and supervising. For my colleagues, I found trusted individuals. In short, I’ve had a career underscored by happiness. As to money…

    Working in the government sphere is a double-edged sword…I’ll never be rich, but I will always be comfortable, with never the fear of layoffs or downturns due to market forces. I’ve had the ability since returning from overseas to always own my home and during the past 10+ years, run a small, successful business for playtesting, editing, and game design, of which Stonemaier Games is one of my favorite clients. Now, in my 50s, I’m more interested in running the café and ensuring my team of linguists at the Bureau have fulfilling days than ever chasing money. I’ve never had anxiety about money and for that I find myself truly blessed. I’ve attempted, and hopefully with some success to distill the life’s lessons that I’ve learned to my daughter who resides in Savannah. She, more than most people, have figured out the game. She works a few shifts at a local bar-restaurant to pay the bills and spends many days working as an assistant director or in any other capacity at a local theatre company, her true passion.

    I certainly understand the anxiety many people have about money, though…one of my linguists, a professional banker told me that 95% of Americans do not have even three months (much less than the advised six month’s worth of salary saved) and we as American capitalists have, on average, nice credit cards. With the ever-constant drumbeat of consumerism, hours of advertising, and the ease with which Amazon has made ordering…well, anything, it’s no surprise that we have historic debt in this country.

    As always, my friend, I wish you happiness as your games provide for so many people.



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