We took happiness as our official vision a couple of years ago. At that time, it was something spectacular. We’ve been happy to see that recently more and more companies have taken the search of happiness as their mantra. I don’t know whether other companies are as serious about it as we are, but still it’s a fact that happiness as a company goal is becoming somewhat mainstream these days, at least in our industry.
Work psychologist Pekka Järvinen wrote a very thought-provoking article in Helsingin Sanomat a couple of days ago (unfortunately only for subscribers). His main point was that there’s too much fun and “good feeling” in today’s work and how it can be treacherous.
To grasp some of Järvinen’s thoughts and to differentiate us from all those other companies pursuing happiness, I wanted to take the time and clarify what our vision means for us. To have some contrast, I made short list of what it doesn’t mean for us.
What the vision of happiness DOES NOT mean for us:
- It doesn’t mean that our projects are always fun and exciting like testing games or VR glasses; instead it does mean that each individual has the chance to work on something that is meaningful to them.
- It doesn’t mean that work itself is always fun; instead is does mean that work can be hard, frustrating or even boring. When one’s work has a purpose, then all the hard work is worth it.
- It doesn’t mean that our people need to be happy; instead it does mean that we want our people to be as happy as they can in their own particular situation of life.
- It doesn’t mean that things come as given; instead it does mean that VALA people have the possibility and required resources to independently shape their lives into what they want.
- It doesn’t mean that people are on their own, in better and worse; instead it does mean that the company is there to do everything possible to guide the individual in their chosen path.
- It doesn’t mean that one should balance their private life to be happy at work; instead it does mean that one should gain energy from their work to be happier in their private life.
- It doesn’t mean that everyone at VALA are dear friends with each other; instead it does mean that we respect each other and share similar values, which form a great basis for friendships.
- It doesn’t mean that we should all agree on everything; instead it does mean that criticism and questioning are tools for improvement.
- It doesn’t mean that all goes well all the time; instead it does mean that mistakes are made and conflicts arise, but those are seen as possibilities to learn.
Sorry, the list was not short. I tried but all I wanted was to make it longer. But maybe that’s enough for now.
To summarise all the above: vision of happiness for VALA doesn’t mean having fun in a company with no rules, it means following unwritten rules (called company culture) to self-directedly build a meaningful workplace for yourself.
And perhaps having fun in the meantime.
Main image: Ryan McGuire, www.gratisography.com