the price of happiness… is there one?


is there one?
Sitting idle {reading tweets and articles not counted} in transit (yet again!), I decided to send out a relatively long sms to  some friends – both locally and abroad – and my ex-Al Rajhi-an family members. 
From the instantaneous response, I immediately know who my real friends and ‘family’ are – well, never once I doubted who stood on which side of the line here. Perhaps most impressive was the immediate response from: 
  • one on conference in Washington DC, 
  • another nursing a burning hot arse (bad case of diarrhea) and fever in some I would imagine bare minimum, hygiene suspect ‘hotel’ in the boondocks covering some breaking news of poor medical attention arising to the death of many, many innocent children, and
  • one who’s just about to catch 40 winks before he alights a flight to Phuket for a 3 days 2 night holiday! {darn}
The message had clearly said that it did not require a response. 
An immediate response at least, but requested everyone to consider the following trade-offs and ponder over it for awhile – yes, we are all back to the drawing board – square one, as they say…
Monetary Compensation & Benefits Cut in Exchange for Happiness???
12% salary cut in exchange for:

  • way better company branding and thus, my own personal branding, plus 
  • skills and knowledge acquisition
  • professional corporate culture, and 
  • most importantly {though I am unsure these days} a lifestyle change; i.e. some traveling for work that renders me too exhausted to feel depressed with 50% cut in personal paid vacation leave and any conceivable ability to pre-plan for a vacation.
Fair Compensation & Benefits in Exchange of Emptiness & Truck Loads of Negativity???
Frankly, where I am ain’t a bad deal (objectively). 
  • Stress level – LOW
  • Need for Innovation and Idea Generationvery LOW {note though, that this goes against my natural instinct/’talent’}
  • Strategic and Analytical thought – extremely LOW (unless you consider childish diabolical plans and “courage” one must musters up to meet disrespectful work bullies and outsmart them). 
  • Stakeholder Managementunnecessarily HIGH, though without the need to stretch one’s intelligence at all or one’s facial muscle, or one’s ear drum muscle …  as to get by you must have the ability to mindlessly ignore all stimuli hurled at you, put on a straight face, grit one’s teeth and smile like a laughing Buddha.
  • Work Politics  and Cultureterribly BAD – this is a place where insecurity leads to turf guarding, and a singular objective of flushing out any newbie as soon as possible.
  • Traffic is something that I will have to add in … it takes me approximately 2.5 hours, yes, freaking 2.5 hours to get there and another 1.5 hours to get back. It’s insane!!! 4 hours on the road … and suddenly it’s justifiable to get an Evoque!
The flip side of all of this is: I am stress free, am able to take time off as and when I like, and possibly indulge in a brand new obsession, hobby, business … the only problem is the what?
the what? has been something the ex-Al Rajhi family has been tasked to think and source … with fortnightly meetings and daily email or sms updates to one another.
Given that the ex-Al Rajhi family here is insane! we are still stuck at “NO!!!! Are you nuts?!?!? That won’t work” … déjà vu  … we never agreed with each other … so it’s rather insane to actually place any hope that we’ll work outthe what? and work on the what? together.

So, while everyone is trying to figure the what? … a task that has been extended across the globe by me to friends, they were asked to reconsider . to ponder . to rethink . to revisit OPTION ONE:  and OPTION TWO:  which we had visited back in November 2011.

Oh well, we’ve got 5-6 weeks more to get this sorted or I am screwed.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Here’s an interesting read on ‘The Price of Happiness’ – theory of diminishing utility at work.

The price of happiness: $75,000

Princeton economists have found that money can, in essence, buy happiness. And the sweet spot is surprisingly low

Princeton researchers found that happiness rises with income before plateauing at $75,000.
Princeton researchers found that happiness rises with income before plateauing at $75,000. Photo: Creative Commons
If happiness has a price tag, it’s probably about $75,000 a year, according to Princeton researchers. Economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman found their magic number by studying surveys of 450,000 Americans in 2008 and 2009. But not surprisingly, their research is a little more complicated than just a salary price point. Here’s what they’re talking about when they talk about happiness:
What does $75,000 a year buy you?
The Princeton team found that day-to-day happiness and emotional well-being rise with income up to that point, but then plateau. “Giving people more income beyond 75K is not going to do much for their daily mood,” says Deaton. A similar new study from Keirsey Researchindependently found a $75,000 happiness threshold, too.
Why would anyone want to earn more, then?There’s more to life than day-to-day contentment. Deaton and Kahneman also looked at broader satisfaction with respondents’ lives, or how people feel their lives are shaping up, and found that overall sense of well-being rose in step with income well past $75,000. 
Why the difference?Nobody’s quite sure, but the Princeton teams hypothesizes that $75,000 is a “plausible number at which people would think money is not an issue,” leaving them free for pleasurable activities like going out with friends. When people step back, though, they factor in other markers of success, like higher income and a college education.
What happens if you earn less than $75,000?“Stuff is so in your face it’s hard to be happy,” explains Deaton. “It interferes with your enjoyment.” Lower-earners also had a harder time dealing with setbacks like illness, divorce, and loneliness. Still, the researchers found that whatever their income, 85 percent of Americans reported feeling happy each day, and happiness levels universally rose on weekends.
How happy are Americans, comparatively?It depends slightly on the study, but Deaton and Kahneman ranked us at No. 9 in terms over overall satisfaction, trailing a handful of Scandinavian countries, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and New Zealand. In a recent Gallup World Poll, the U.S. ranked No. 26 in day-to-day happiness (New Zealand was No. 1), and No. 16 in in terms of overall well-being (Denmark was No. 1).
So what lessons can we draw from the study?“As an economist I tend to think money is good for you, and am pleased to find some evidence for that,” says Deaton. For his part, Kahneman concludes, “We suspect that this means, in part, that when people have a lot more money, they can buy a lot more pleasures, but there are some indications that when you have a lot of money, you will savor each pleasure less.”
Sources: TimeLA TimesHealthDayAPCNNLiveScience (2)


8 thoughts on “the price of happiness… is there one?

  1. HAPPINESS any day.It's not going to make much difference to you from the financial perspective. Besides, you will make up for it in no time.I personally think our society is just not ready for the talk of performance, merit, fast track, high potentials, stars.Bottom line everyone still look at age unless you have a God father, then worse still everyone will say it's because of the connection and not your own merit.Interviewers and bosses will ultimately reflect back and think about themselves at your age and definitely feel sorry for themselves and thus think you are non-deserving coz they weren't even half way where you were.So chill. Don't get too upset over it.Take it easy. Since you can't coast, well immerse yourself in a project to help others. You should seriously consider going back to philanthropy work. Again, don't let that stupid mat salleh incident derail you.

  2. Go for happiness.Going by your constant advice of "you only live once!"Seriously, do what makes you happiest. You don't exactly need the dole and 12% ain't going to make you poorer or less one handbag or shoe a month!No seriously.Ben

  3. Honestly babe, I think your biggest issue is the fact that you are undisputedly one of the smartest most savvy person I have met and worked with.Very few people will meet your expectations and very few bosses will be "there" for you to respect.The Al Rajhi experience is one that will never be matched – pioneer team, more than supportive Manco that adores you and takes the risks.This new place sounds pretty much like every where else, and look, if they say they want to change but don't, be it.All that matters is that they are paying.Hang in for a year I'd say and you know what silly girl, coast and take a break! Seriously, you are the most hard driving and driven person. About time you reward yourself and even by coasting you'd be miles ahead.I'm here for you to cry on.Don't take a step back. Create and find happiness.Jon

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