A recent CNN report and an unrelated Gallup poll found that the “happiness” factor of Americans could be linked to two important criteria: living in medium-sized cities, and working in the industries that are “alive and well.”
The AARP organization reports that Gallup’s study reflects the newest trend in Americans’ desire to find a town that offers a sense of community, without sacrificing outdoor activities and nightlife.
The respondents in the Gallup survey reflected upon the sense of “well-being” that their cities deliver. “The happiest Americans are those who are gainfully employed doing what they love, and living where they love,” says Susan Howington, Founder and CEO of Power Connections Inc. Outplacement and Career Coaching service based in Irvine, California. “Can that happiness still be found in today’s economy? We think so.”
Howington is the author of “How Smart People Sabotage Their Job Search,” and coaches clients on their strategies for finding work throughout the nation. “Simultaneously, the smartest careerists know that where there are paychecks, there is a tendency to be happy as well.”
Cities topping the happiness meter according to Gallup include:
Boulder, CO: This community northwest of Denver is an outdoor paradise with four seasons. No matter what your favorite outdoor activities, Boulder has them all in stunning backdrops. It also has the youthful vibe of the University of Colorado campus.
San Jose, CA: This town still offers a robust economy with its tech companies, coffee shop incubators, and industry startups. The frosting on the cake is its proximity to San Francisco.
Seattle, WA: Referred to as the “Emerald City” because of its stunning forests of evergreens and unbeatable water and mountain views, it is also the home of Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks. The vibe there is about fresh air, fresh local produce and fresh seafood.
Madison, WI: Madison has seen a significant reduction in unemployment numbers, with strong academic and medical communities. The happily employed there enjoy an extensive bike-lane network and happening night-life.
Honolulu, HI: This tourist industry mecca brings in $10 billion annually from travelers visiting from all over the globe. It has a thriving ocean trading hub and real estate scene.
And just how are America’s industries affecting happiness? A CNN special report aired August 13, 2012, indicates the portrait of a happy worker is complete by having a job in a strong industry. Careers on an upswing contribute to workers’ feelings of well-being.
In the current employment landscape those careers are:
- data scientists, who are collecting, securing and storing data for businesses and agencies;
- engineering research and design managers, who help businesses streamline processes to improve a company’s bottom line;
- computer programmers and network administrators;
- medical assistants, who are experiencing significantly increased demand due to expanding healthcare.
Says expert career strategist Howington, “Smart careerists watch the landscape of opportunity, and adapt as needed to geographical and market changes. They go where the potential for happiness is greatest, and create it.”