In one of my favorite movies "The Bridge on the River Kwai," the commandant of the Japanese prison camp tells the British prisoners, "Be happy in your work." Part of the irony in the story is that once the British took ownership of building the railroad trestle for the Japanese, they did become happier. It made them feel less like prisoners. They had pride.
So when I read Sue Shellenbarger's column in the Sept. 16 Wall Street Journal about happiness in work, I thought of Kwai. Her piece, "Plumbing for Joy? Be Your Own Boss," reinforced something I already suspected -- that entrepreneurs and small business owners are the happiest people. Yes, they work more hours and harder than the average person, but they are in charge of themselves and their businesses. Plus, most people who start businesses do it in a field in which they have a passion or a talent. They are following their bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say.
The article reflected a major study by the Gallup Poll of people's attitudes toward their work/occupations. A plumber who owns his own business is a very happy fellow. The article is well worth reading.
So my business tip this week is to find your passion. Follow it. If you are thinking of starting a business, do it. But only do it, if you think you'll love the work.