After the first year in a new job, workplace happiness plummets

New marriages aren’t the only time you may find yourself in a honeymoon phase. You’ll probably have one at work, too.

Just like marriages, happiness levels at work take a nose-dive after the first year on the job, a Robert Half study says. If an employee has been working at a job less than a year, they tend to be the most happy in their positions.

The second-year slump is real. Employees with 1-2 years in a job are usually the most unhappy. During the first year, they rate their happiness level at 73/100, while their second year is 69.6. This is the lowest level of happiness through employees’ tenures at a company.

“Once they get past year one, the honeymoon appears to be over for many professionals,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. “After 12 months on the job, employees are expected to work more autonomously and take on added responsibility. At the same time, aspects of the job that at first seemed novel and interesting may lose their luster.”

honeymoon at work

As happiness levels are at their highest in the first year, stress levels are at their lowest. The longer one works at a company, the more stressed they’re likely to become.

But happiness and interest levels in work are rated differently. While interest plummets during the second-year slump as well, interest in the job is at its highest when workers have been at a company 21 years or more (74.4/100).

“Managers should be aware of this second-year slowdown and take proactive measures to keep employees engaged,” McDonald says. “This includes providing stretch assignments and ensuring that workloads are manageable. By keeping an eye on it, companies can help minimize the risk of losing productive staff members who have already been through a learning curve.”

How to work happy

If you find yourself getting bored or complacent at work, clearly you’re not alone. But you can help yourself stay happy on the job without going crazy. Robert Half has a few suggestions for being passionate about work.

  1. Find your passion — What is your company doing to make the world a better place, and what can you do to contribute to it?
  2. Deepen your connections — It’s always about who you know. You don’t have to be best friends with your colleagues but being friendly helps. Socialize, learn who they are, what they do, and see how you can help each other be better.
  3. Mix it up — If you find yourself bored with work, ask your supervisor for some new assignment that isn’t in your day-to-day work. The challenge will engage you, but it will also show your boss that you’re being proactive and engaging, which can help later, whether it’s for a raise, promotion, or both.
  4. Show gratitude — Give credit where it’s due, especially when it comes to your co-workers. Thank those on your team or even other departments when they’ve helped you in any way. Being happy with your co-workers helps you and them be better employees.
  5. Sweeten the pot — If you’re working hard and staying positive, keep up with industry trends and don’t be afraid to ask for a raise. If you’re doing everything right, it’ll be difficult for your company to turn you down.
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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Career and Business, Family

infographic, job interview, layoff, office life

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Article last modified on December 26, 2017 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Honeymooning at Work - AMP.