by Connie Felder, Deputy Director

Connie Felder

Connie Felder

Recently some of our staff returned energized by a workshop they attended entitled Happiness Fuels Success.  It was based on Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage.

Shawn Achor challenges the premise that happiness is the product of hard work and success.  He suggests that it is the other way around – that when we are happy our brain works better and we end up working harder which then leads to success.   

He goes on to say that research shows that only 25% of job success can be predicted on technical abilities and intelligence.  The majority of long term job success for both the employee and organization hinges on 3 happiness-related factors: 

1)  The extent of one’s support network (co-workers, managers, family and friends)
2)  An optimistic temperament  or the belief that what one does matters
3) The ability to positively manage stress

To improve performance, he encourages organizations to focus on improving internal support systems and provide training that will result in positive behaviors including stress management and thus lead to a more engaged and motivated or “happy” workforce.

I believe that he is right.  As a public service organization, we have discovered that what is good for our employees is good for our customers and have tried to create an environment which fosters personal job satisfaction or “happiness”.  We believe that our employees should feel in control of their work.  Doing good work is important to them and our employees provide valuable input into how the work is done.  We provide opportunities for them to participate in workshops and special events focused on wellness, stress relief, and issues of interest to them. We have developed an internal staff mentoring program and provided coaching training for managers.   Professional development opportunities are identified by staff in collaboration with their manager as part of the annual performance review process. 

But in the end, aren’t we all responsible for ensuring our own happiness?  Each of us must find a way to make the most of the time we spend at work, to make it meaningful, motivating and self-actualizing.  Every job holds potential to learn something about ourselves and the realization of our career legend and personal happiness.   We need to work on developing relationships with business colleagues and personal friends and family who share our values, who demonstrate a positive, upbeat attitude towards life, and who can support us in our professional and personal  growth.

If we take total responsibility for our own happiness, then no employer or job loss can take it away from us.   

For more information about Shawn Achor and The Happiness Advantage go to .


Connie Felder is Deputy Director of RochesterWorks!   With almost 20 years’ experience in youth and adult workforce preparation programs, Connie is passionate about the career development process and the importance of individuals taking responsibility for their career journey in order to realize their full potential.    Connie has held jobs since she was 12 years old and believes that purposeful work is a primary vehicle for personal growth and self-actualization.  Connie holds a Master’s degree in counseling.

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