What's A Director of Happiness Anyway?

By Mallory Bartz on 22 06 2015

What's A Director of Happiness?

I was recently promoted to Director of Happiness here at Mutually Human and I'm sure, like everyone else I've spoken with in the last few days, you're thinking: "What the hell does that even mean?" Well, like many of the job titles in tech, or most industries for that matter, it's a little bit accurate and a little bit make-believe.

We all love our euphemisms. Why tell people you hold a sign outside a Little Caesars when you could just as easily say you work in Human Directional Advertising? Director of Business Development certainly sounds better than pavement-pounding, client-wooer, doesn't it? Wait? Does it? I'm gonna get back to you on that one.

Some of my coworkers were even a little confused by the title; "Director of Happiness, huh? That's sounds like a lot of pressure, trying to keep everyone happy all the time." So, for clarification:

1) I'm doing all the stuff I used to, e.g. HR, hiring, editing, copywriting, finances, etc, but on a larger scale, and

2) There's no possible way to keep people happy all the time, nor should you want to

What Do You Mean By Happy Exactly?

The next question you might have is: What does it even mean to be happy? While I can't claim to know the answer, I'll give it a go.

I spent many years believing the path to feeling good was doing everything right, especially in the eyes of a boss, teacher, or parent, and it's taken a few key life events, and a million small ones, to shake me loose from this piece of fiction. There have been times in my life when I thought I was happy only to find out later, I just wasn't paying very close attention to myself. This is something I'm simultaneously annoyed by and incredibly grateful for, as we're usually lovingly shielded from the things we just aren't ready to address.

Many of these realizations come through an opening of the heart, by will or by force; for when we throw ourselves into new experience, while often frightening, we are slowly but surely increasing our capacity for joy.

Here's what I know for sure–sorry, Oprah. Happiness is not a pleasant mood; it's having the freedom to live and express the different facets of your being without fear or regret.

In that freedom you may find raging tears or a pounding fist, but it's that very release that almost always leaves you in a fuller place. It's my job, and the job of all who care, to create an environment that allows this freedom to exist. How do we do that here? By living it, at home, in the office, and in the world. We make it a point to be as accepting and forgiving of each other's humanity as we can. We don't ask people to be different, think differently, or feel differently because it suits us. If someone wants to leave and work somewhere else, we're happy for their growth and their new opportunity.

There's no prescription for a perfectly happy workplace. Companies are always trying to "create culture", attempting to attract candidates with ping pong, kegerators and sweet, sweet dividends. The most important thing, in my eyes, is to work hardest at being exactly who you are and trust that like-minded individuals will show up to join the party.

The only way I know how to feel good is to quit posturing all the time and stop promising things I know I don't really want to give. Mutually Human is one of the few places I've worked where I can do both and still be successful.

handmade box given upon my promotion

handmade note given upon my promotion

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