Women and Happiness, Part II

Last week I posted a few thoughts about women and happiness. This has been a hot topic ever since Marcus Buckingham published his top-selling Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently.

A lot of women took strong exception to Buckingham telling them what they needed to do to become more happy, and others were discouraged by the data he shared that seemed to show that women had become more unhappy even as they had become more successful.

It’s important to insert a point into this conversation, because many have interpreted the research to show that striving for success in today’s overheated 24/7 work environment makes women miserable.

The environment is challenging, and many women find it doubly so because they bear multiple responsibilities. But I think the real issue is getting lost. The big problem seems to me that the traditional workplace has been incredibly slow to adjust to the entry of one half of the human race into its ranks. It’s not just about flex time, although that’s important. But what never gets talked about is that women seem to define and perceive satisfaction differently than men.

The big lesson I learned while researching my new book, The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work, is that women bring different values with them to work. As long as these values remain out of sync with what organizations expect women to value, finding real satisfaction will be difficult.

In my next post, I’ll share some findings from Julie Johnson and my research on satisfaction differentials.