If you dread going to work most mornings, I totally get it. Besides having to be up and presentable hecka early, you might also have to deal with a micromanaging boss, coworkers who don't support your team, or a whole host of other little things that can make your job less than enjoyable. Finding a job that you genuinely like isn't easy, but a new survey from researchers at the University of Sheffield and the University of Exeter in the UK may have discovered the key to loving your job. Self-employed people find the most fulfillment, according to the survey. The research is published in journal Work, Employment and Society. Researchers surveyed 5,000 people from around the world about work satisfaction from a variety of industries and found that self-employed workers were happier across all fields. "Those who were self-employed were not only amongst the most engaged, but also experienced greater opportunities for innovation, achieving challenging targets and meeting high standards," a press release says.
On the flip side, people in non-management roles were the least satisfied with their jobs. Becoming self-employed can take a fair amount of privilege —the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency says it can cost $30,000 to get a business running. Of course, it depends on the scope of your work — starting a home-based Etsy shop is going to be easier than opening a restaurant. Regardless, you're more likely to be happy waking up in the morning if you're your own boss.
“Being engaged in their jobs makes people feel energised [sic] and pleased with their own contribution,” said study co-author Ilke Inceoglu in the press release. “Measuring how engaged people are in their work is therefore a really useful way to gauge their wellbeing and shows we must move beyond just looking at job satisfaction.”
The study says that self-employment requires people to become innovative, which leads to them being more involved at work. Self-employed workers were also more likely to value challenges at work, according to the research. Still, working for yourself does present some difficulties. According to a Gallup poll, nearly half of self-employed people spend more than 44 hours a week working, which means that self-employment often comes with longer hours. My father is an entrepreneur who started a company about 10 years ago, and I've seen how much time he spends in the office. If you want to be home by 5:30 p.m. every day, self-employment will probably seem daunting. But if you want a change of pace that could make you happier, this might be a way to accomplish it.
“Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have. They have the freedom to innovate, express their own views, have influence beyond their own role and compete with other companies and people," said study co-author Peter Warr in the release. “They really get to use their own expertise, so don’t seem to mind working long hours. They can find meeting high standards really fulfilling.”
If you're not ready to jump on the self-employment train yet, you can still reap the benefits of working for yourself. I started freelancing for fun last year when I was in a role that didn't allow for a ton of creative freedom, and it became so productive that I now freelance part-time. Even if you don't want a side hustle, you can make the choice to take ownership of your work tasks and excel at them. If you're at a company that values self-reliance, you'll likely be rewarded for showing initiative.
The idea of full-time self-employment is pretty scary to me, but I applaud those who can pull it off — the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics says that 10 percent of Americans are self-employed, so you're in good company if you're working for yourself. You're also leaving work feeling like you're doing something fulfilling, which is hard to find.