I believe that Life should be full of fun, adventure, creativity and passion. It shouldn’t be a series of putting one foot in front of the other, simply ‘grinding’ it out to make ends meet. In more than 15 years as a recruiter (and sometimes corporate drone) I’ve seen both ends of this spectrum. I’ve interviewed people who are slogging it out in careers they hate and, conversely, I’ve spoken with those who seem to bounce from passion project to passion project, kicking goals the whole way. Overall these years, and more than 1,000 interviews, I’ve learned 3 things about happiness and work.

  1. Jobs of the Future are going to be the ones that require us to tap back into what actually makes us human and what really matters

I spend a big chunk of my time focused in on looking at ‘the jobs of the future’ and what skills/talents and character traits are going to be needed. I am interested in this for my own self-preservation, for the future of my young family and for the overall wellbeing of the people that I seek to serve.

Some of the themes emerging around the ‘skills’ required for the jobs of the future are Empathy, Creativity and Human Emotion. This makes sense to me. If AI does claim a number of our existing jobs or if any of the ‘robots taking over the world’ predictions are even half true, it makes sense that the more complex components of what makes us inherently human will be the hardest to replace. If this is the case, then I believe that now it’s not only the time for people to look to bring more of these elements (empathy, creativity, authenticity) into their corporate and personal lives ‘because it’s a good thing to do’, but also as it may just become ‘the thing that you need to do’ to ensure long-term success.

I have no idea what the jobs of the future are going to be, jobs where our emotional intelligence becomes of higher importance than other skills or knowledge. But I love the concept of a world where the ‘good’ people actually win.

Through my whole life, meeting and sharing experiences with ‘authentic’, ‘down to earth’, ‘talented’, ‘vibrant’, ‘caring’ and ‘playful’ characters has always been of huge importance to me. As such my circle of friends spans from lawyers to tradies, to successful entrepreneurs and business owners, to high-level marketing executives to vagabonds and wanderers. The common thread is that everyone is genuine, everyone is accepting, everyone loves to have fun, to share stories, experiences and to have a laugh. My friends are genuine, down to earth people. Why am I sharing this?

  1. I am proud of the fact that I have found a group of people who also value ‘authenticity’ over the ‘What do you do for a living?’ way in which a lot of people box people into categories, lumping them with a list of unfair assumptions, based purely on what they do for a career.
  2. I believe that these character traits are amongst the list that AI and robotics aren’t going to be able to easily replace. Therefore, these genuine ‘human’ traits should be placed in a higher rank of importance in society and within organisations.
  3. I am sharing a little of myself with the aim of being fully transparent with you the reader. I really am speaking from the heart, so I hope that you take this message on-board.

I believe that we can all not only live happier, healthier lives if we focus on being ‘more human’, but that we will also be more productive, happier and quite simply, have a lot more fun.

  1. Despite all the rhetoric, most companies are still not making their employees happy

Shouting your staff, a bunch of drinks is one thing (and I love a free drink as much if not more than the next person), but what can we do to help our staff to be truly happy? The sort of happiness that is abiding and not fleetingly replaced with a whopping hangover and a bad case of ‘Oh no, what did I, or could I, have done last night’.

Disturbingly, I have read and heard reports and articles that claim that somewhere between 50% and 80% of people are not happy in their current jobs. Emily Blatchford of the Huffington Post Australia states that “Less than half of Aussies are happy with their job”. Deloitte in recent years stated the figure closer to 80%. I believe that it’s somewhere in between, but either way, there are far too many people wishing that they didn’t wake up to go to work each day.

Conversely, and the part that I am the most interested in is the link between happiness and productivity.

There are numerous reports linking happiness and productivity. E.g. https://clowdwork.com/en/blog/2017/04/03/why-happier-employees-are-more-productive/


and I know from my own personal experiences that the times where I have been the most successful, have been the times when I have been happiest.

“Well of course” you may be saying and simply thinking that I was happy ‘because I was successful’, and an element of that may well be true, but I think that there is more to it. Ironically ‘the pursuit of success’ is making more people unhappy than it is making people happy. And what is ‘success’ anyway? To me ‘success’ is having strong, caring relationships with the people who matter the most to you. I believe that we need more of that in the workplace. More “hey, how are you?” or “let’s go for a walk and talk it through”, than people clamouring to the top, treading on whoever they need to on the way.

The really intriguing part is that by being happy, it actually helps us to succeed. Shawn Achor (Author of The Happiness Advantage) has a great TED talk on this topic.

So, if happiness has a direct impact on effectiveness, how can businesses ensure that their staff are happy and that they aren’t part of the half of Australian’s who aren’t happy in their current roles, or who I call the ‘one foot after another’ “grind” it out group of people?

  1. Like every other industry, recruitment is on the cusp of a major shift. And not everyone is going to like it.

At Source Junction, we have numerous ideas and initiatives around employee engagement and how we can ensure that companies are hiring the right people but for the purposes of this article, I would like to pose this simple thought to you as a more significant starting place.

Happiness doesn’t come from chasing happiness, but rather chasing meaning. If you do something meaningful with your life, then typically you will be happy and happy in a way that lasts (unlike the happiness that I get from eating ice-cream or drinking).

So, if you are an employer, how can you provide your employees with more meaning? If you are an employee, what sort of work can you do that is meaningful? How would I define meaningful in this context? “doing something good for the world and/or the people in it”.

Part of my own journey in making the leap out into business and into the work that we have done at TPC Talent in ‘Reimagining Recruitment’ has been the search for better, more engaging, more meaningful and fun work.

Has it happened? It definitely has. It hasn’t been all sunshine and lollipops, but I have never felt more inspired and engaged. The major shift hasn’t come from the work that I am doing, but rather sense of satisfaction that I get from being in control of my own destiny and the fact that I know that all of the business ventures that I am currently part of and plan to be part are focused on improving people’s lives. So in this instance, I have created my own role that has purpose and meaning.

Without going into all of the details of my current business ventures, I can share that the work that I am going is underpinned by a genuine desire to find way’s that we can help people to feel more alive and inspired in what they do. Way’s that people can find meaning, purpose and fulfilment in what they do. Way’s that we can shift the 50/50 ratio between people who wake up happy to go do work and people who don’t.

I believe that the companies that can do this will be the ones that win and that they will reduce their recruitment costs simply by doing a better job of retaining the staff that they currently have.

If any of you are familiar with Simon Sinek and his ‘Why’ (check out his TED Talk http://bit.ly/1a1B6s6) I will be honest and tell you that I am still grappling with clearly defining my ‘Why’, but I think that it goes something like this.

Why do I feel inspired/compelled to do what I do? My goal is to help people lead happier, healthier, fully engaged, vibrant lives where they are fulfilled in both their personal life and their career.

Helping people to find success through embracing authenticity and supporting their colleagues.

What do you think of this?

Deon (my business partner and I) are both really fired up about building businesses and roles that will see people in more engaged, inspired, roles. Will this lead to more happiness and productivity? We strongly believe so.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

In addition, If anyone would like to talk about ‘Jobs of the future’, ‘Skills of the future’, ‘How they have succeeded through being authentic’, or any ways that you have seen technology lead to meaningful offline connection, please reach out to me. I love to chat J

Equally, if you are interested in talking about your current staff engagement, retention and recruitment strategies, we would love to hear about them and to see if there are any ways that we can help.

Please reach out by emailing myself [email protected]

Brad Houston