Recently, Medium’s Tom Whitwell reported, “a study of 14,000 Australians over 14 years found that neither being promoted nor being fired has any impact on either emotional well-being or life satisfaction.”
The fascinating study compares the emotional impact of a variety of life events, from retiring to going to jail, being robbed, getting married, or having a baby. Some of the results are what you’d expect. For example, major health issues hurt both emotional wellbeing and life satisfaction; and though getting married can be stressful leading up to the event, it brings distinct positives afterward.
But surprisingly, neither getting fired nor getting promoted have long-term effects. That certainly challenges the idea that climbing the corporate ladder is the secret to happiness.
Of course, other studies show the high value of work in general: as the Harvard Business Review summarizes, “being unemployed is miserable.” All of which points a generation struggling with the meaning of work to the truth of how God made us. Work is a worthy endeavor … but not our ultimate identity.
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