The only thing people hate more than going to work is being sick in bed, according to a new survey out of the University of Sussex and London School of Economics.
Using the app Mappiness, researchers began in 2010 to alert users randomly throughout the day with a request to take a short survey and report their feelings at the time they were experiencing them.
The researchers received more than a million observations by tens of thousands of British people, and they found that the effect of working is equivalent to a 7% to 8% reduction in happiness relative to when they're not working.
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People reported they hated working more than doing housework, commuting, waiting in line, and organizing their finances.
This view of work as being pretty miserable is especially interesting considering how positive our long-term view of work is.
Research on subjective well-being indicates that work contributes substantially and positively to our overall life satisfaction and general happiness. And numerous surveys show that people — 86% of US employees, for example — feel satisfied with their current job.
University of Sussex economist Dr. George MacKerron says the app he created offers a different view: "Mappiness is interesting because it quizzes people in the moment, before they get a chance to reach for their rose-tinted glasses."
"Although we may be positive about our jobs when reflecting on the meaning and purpose they give us, and the money they provide, actually engaging in paid work comes at a significant psychological cost," he explains.
The researchers conclude that work itself is so painful that at any given moment, we would rather be doing almost anything else.
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