People generally have a “bliss zone,” a window of creative work and responsibility to match their skills and passions. But then the problems start. Those who love being part of teams and creative processes are promoted to management. Happy engineers become stressed-out supervisors. Writers find themselves in charge of other writers and haranguing them over deadlines. In my years in academia, I saw happy professors become bitter deans, constantly reminiscing about the old days doing cutting-edge research and teaching the classes they loved.
Why don’t people stop rising when they are happy? Because we are built to think that more is better — more power, authority, money and responsibility. So we incorrectly infer that promotions will equal greater satisfaction. In an economy that has left so many people behind in recent years, this might seem like a nice problem to have. But it is a problem nonetheless, as recent research clearly demonstrates…
So what’s the solution?
Here’s one that many people try: Drink a lot. Research from 2010 found that people with high incomes reported consuming more alcohol than people of more modest means. Specifically, 81 percent of respondents making over $75,000 per year drink alcohol, versus 66 percent of those making $30,000 to $49,000 and 46 percent earning under $20,000.