3 Reasons Why Raise at Work Won't Make You Very Happy

What are the three fondest words in the English language? To some, it is “I love you”. To others, it is “dinner is served”. But if most people were truthful, the answer would probably be “salary increment letter”. These are the three words that most people would love to hear. Why? Because people believe more money would make them happier, that their lives would improve if they could climb the income ladder, even if just a few rungs.3 Reasons Why Raise at Work Won't Make You Very Happy

The Big Deal of Increments

Increments are such a big deal. Asking for a raise at work is like asking someone to prom. People think about a raise ever so often, but asking for one makes them nervous. Yet, people continue to believe that once they do get it, their lives would change for the better, that they would be happier. New studies agree, but only to an extent. When the rise comes, the reality is far from expectations. 3 Reasons Why Raise at Work Won't Make You Very Happy

Money Does Buy Happiness

Contrary to the adage, money does buy you happiness. Many studies have found the link between income and happiness. More money does not solve all problems, but maybe it is nicer to cry in a Ferrari. According to research, people’s happiness increases with a rise in their salaries up to at least half a million dollars. This applies to random lotteries as well. In one study, a cash giveaway of $10,000 boosted people’s happiness for 6 months. In another, those who won six-figure lotteries were happier for a decade on average. Richer people tend to be happier. This is obvious. More money means a higher standard of living and greater opportunities.

The Impact of a Raise

Getting a raise is important, but its impact may not be as big as you would imagine. The magnitude of its effect is not life-changing. There are three reasons why:

  1. Proportion of Increase Matters: Double the salary does not mean double the happiness. A jump this big, double the salary, is rare. Usually, the increase is incremental and small. So, getting a raise does not really change people’s day-to-day life.3 Reasons Why Raise at Work Won't Make You Very Happy
  2. More Money for the Same Good Feelings: As people move up the income scale, it takes more money to generate the same good feelings. Research says moving from $15,000 to $30,000 has the same satisfaction as going from $60,000 to $120,000.
  3. Comparison Affects Happiness: It can be less about how much you make and more about how much others do. Basic human nature, comparison, affects how happy people are with their pay. Be it in companies or close to home. According to studies, executives are more likely to quit if their pay is low compared to the other top bosses. Living in an area where people make more money is linked to being less happy.

So, money is good, and a raise may temporarily make you happy. But it’s one of the many facets of work life that would make you happy.3 Reasons Why Raise at Work Won't Make You Very Happy

Time Over Money

When it comes to income happiness, there is only one scientifically proven trick: time over money. People are happier when they focus on how they use the money rather than getting more of it.

Think about it like this: a raise is for humans what GDP growth is for nations. It is a big priority. Now, here is a list of the five biggest economies in the world and then a list of the five happiest nations. This data is from last year, before a certain war broke out. But keeping that aside, we know that there is no overlap in the lists. There is a strong relationship between GDP and population well-being, but it starts breaking down after a certain level. Because growth for the sake of growth, just like a raise for the sake of it, does not always translate into happiness.

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