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Happiness, 1.14 (V) Week 1 Video 7 - Devaluing happiness in job-choice

[MUSIC] Hi there, welcome back. We are now inside one of the many rooms at the Indian School of Business where job interviews happen. I'll tell you why I've brought you here in just a minute. The last video, I shared with you many situations in which we routinely sacrifice happiness for the sake of other cause. Now, you might argue with me that the kinds of situations that we explored in the last video are relatively unimportant ones. Like choosing items in the salad bar or proving to your boyfriend or your girlfriend that you're right. You could ask me, do people sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals, in more important situations, like job choice. Imagine that you're in the shoes of this poor dude out here who was waiting to be interviewed for a job by me, and ask yourself, would you sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals in this situation? That's what my colleagues and I wanted to find out and to tell you about what we found, I'm going to turn to my co-author in the project. Sunaina Chugani from Baruch College, City University of New York. Hi Sunaina, how's it going? » Pretty good, yeah. It's good to see you. » Sunaina. I'm calling you because you did the lion's share of the work in our job choice studies. Could you please tell us what we found? » Sure, so » If you remember the reason why we did these job study settings was to see if people choose to sacrifice their happiness in even more bigger life choices, such as job choices. And we actually ran two studies, and the first one was in a lab setting. And what we did is, we came up with two job descriptions. One was described as being more extrinsically rewarding, but less intrinsically rewarding, so we described it as, for example, high paying, high stress, stressful hours, things like that. And then the other job, we said was more intrinsically rewarding and less extrinsically rewarding. So we said that It was a job that you would enjoy more, easier hours, but the pay was also less. And so what we did is we asked students to indicate which job they would, would prefer. We said, imagine you're close to graduating, you had these two job offers, which one would you prefer. And what we found was 57% of the students said that they would choose the intrinsically pleasing job over the extrinsically pleasing job. And I remember when we got this result, Rajit and I were like, what's going on? Because it's not what we expected, not what we had seen from anecdotal evidence and things like that. People have been told all their lives, you know follow your hearts. Do what makes you happy, and so they might be self presenting and saying that they would choose the intrinsically rewarding job to kind of protect their reputation, either to other people, or even to themselves. They don't want to admit it to themselves about what's going on. So, we thought this is what might be going on so we decided to use a technique used by psychologists called a Projective Technique, which tries to get at these underlying attitudes that people don't necessarily like to maybe admit to themselves which topics. So we ran the study again and this time instead of asking participants to indicate what job they would choose. We said what do you think the average student would choose between these two jobs. And when we asked these two questions, what we found was a flip. Now, only 19.8, so close to 20% said they would choose an intrinsically satisfied job. The other 80% said they would, the average student would choose the extrinsically satisfied job. » Great, so we used the projective technique huh? However, isn't it true that there is some debate about the predictive technique? So didn't we do another study that provided more direct evidence that people choose jobs that are more intrinsically than intrinsically satisfying especially when push comes to shove can you share that one with us? » Sure, so yeah there is some debate about this Projective Technique so we run another study which is so much fun to talk about and we did it over a span of a year and a half. And what we did was, we ran the study on MBA students, who were actually going to be going on the job market. And before we contacted them, though, we came up with a list of jobs in different industries, a pair of jobs for each industry. So for accounting we came up with two jobs in the accounting industry one again that was more extrinsically satisfying and one that was more intrinsically satisfying. And we drew from actual job postings and created these jobs for actual companies. And again, one would be listed as high on extrinsic rewards like money but sound more stressful, but in other jobs hire on intrinsic rewards, for example with a meaningful company and had better hours, and things like that. And so we had a list of many of these jobs for different industries. And then we went to MBA students in their first year and we asked them to look at these jobs based on whatever industry they told us they were in, we gave them jobs for that industry, and we said, rank these jobs in order of appeal to you. And again, some of them were extrinsic, some of them were intrinsic, so we wanted to see the relative ranking of these jobs in their first year. Then, we let a year go by and the next year we contacted these same MBA students. This was the year they were on the job market. They were actually in the heat of job interviews, and we asked them to do the exact same thing again, rank these jobs in order of intrinsic versus extrinsic and importance. And what we found is, when we compared these stage two to stage one job interviews. What we found is that, over time, MBA students were expressing more preference for the extrinsically-rewarding jobs relative to the intrinsically rewarding jobs. So, we saw this clear pattern, intrinsic preference decrease, and extrinsic preference increase, so that was pretty telling to us. » Yeah, so these findings show that the MBA students shift their preference towards astringent rewards when they are on the job market, but tell me, isn't it possible to argue, that they aren't necessarily sacrificing their happiness. What if these students actually derived greater happiness from higher paying jobs. That is, what if these students really don't care about astringent motivation? Isn't that a possibility? » That's a really fair question. It's a great question but I don't think that's explaining our results, because if that was the case, then we would have seen that even in stage one, that these MBA students would have exhibited a preference for the extrinsically satisfying jobs, ands we don't see that. We see the trend emerging over time. So, what we think might be going on is, people are using their ideals, what they think they should choose, happiness wise in stage one but as time goes on, kind of the pressure of the job interview season, seeing all of your other peers being on these job interviews. Thinking about competition that maybe motivates people to say, you know what, I need to choose the more competitive job out of the two. And I think that explains our results more than the idea that they think the extrinsic rewards make them happier. » Very good Sunama. These results definitely seem to rule out the possibility that the students derive greater happiness from higher paying jobs but what about the possibility that they want to take these higher paying jobs only to get a certain level of financial security? For example, pay off their loans and once they achieve that level of financial security, they will choose the intrinsically motivating jobs. In other words, isn't it possible that people do have their eye on happiness but, they're also being practical, and they're postponing the pursuit of happiness for just a little bit. Isn't that a possibility? » Sure. So I hear this all the time that people will say for now, I'm going to take the good paying job because I want more financial security but in the long term, I'm going to switch to that better job, right. Now if that was explaining our findings, what we would see if we could divide people up by financial security. So people who have low debt versus high debt and if that was explaining our results, we should see this pattern to be more strong with people with high debt but what happens when we factor debt into the equation, because we asked MBA students how much is your loan about and how much is your debt amount. We divide people by low and high debt using it as a moderator. You see absolutely no difference in the pattern over time. It's exactly the same whether people have low debt or high debt so it can't be that people are seeking financial security, and that's why we're doing this. » So, there you have it folks. As we've seen so far, people sacrifice happiness in a variety of scenarios, when making food choices, when interacting with the people in their lives, and even, when choosing something as important as a job in their lives. My colleagues and I call this tendency to sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals, The Fundamental Happiness Paradox. We call it this because, as we saw earlier, people think happiness is very important to them, perhaps even their most important goal. In other words, people think happiness is more important than value for money, say, or winning an argument, or extrinsic rewards, and yet as they go about their daily lives, people often seem to forget about this, and they often sacrifice happiness for the sake of these very goals. Now, you might think that the fundamental happiness paradox is not a big deal. After all, only a small percentage of people, like 15 to 20% seem to be sacrificing happiness in any one scenario, however, keep two things in your mind. Few people, will freely admit to sacrificing happiness for the sake of things like money, or value for money, or being right. Why? Because people don't want to admit that they have big egos and want to prove others wrong and themselves right or that they're money-minded. So the findings in our studies actually underestimate the extent to which the fundamental happiness paradox is prevalent. Based on results from some other studies that we've conducted, in which we used the Projective Technique, we believe that the proportion of people who sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals Is actually much higher, perhaps even double that which we found in the studies in some of the scenarios. Second, don't forget that we make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions each day. So even if we commit the fundamental happiness paradox in only a small fraction of the decision, we're still leaving a lot of happiness on the table. So, I will summarize our discussion as follows. On the one hand, we think happiness is important. We know this from several studies, including one of my own, and yet on the other hand, we routinely sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals and priorities, as we saw from the studies on fundamental happiness paradox. This indicates that we devalue happiness, which is of course the first deadly happiness sin. So the question is why do we devalue happiness? And that's the question to which I will turn in the next video. Till then, Adios. [MUSIC]



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[MUSIC] Hi there, welcome back. We are now inside one of the many rooms at the Indian School of Business where job interviews happen. I'll tell you why I've brought you here in just a minute. The last video, I shared with you many situations in which we routinely sacrifice happiness for the sake of other cause. Now, you might argue with me that the kinds of situations that we explored in the last video are relatively unimportant ones. Like choosing items in the salad bar or proving to your boyfriend or your girlfriend that you're right. You could ask me, do people sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals, in more important situations, like job choice. Imagine that you're in the shoes of this poor dude out here who was waiting to be interviewed for a job by me, and ask yourself, would you sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals in this situation? That's what my colleagues and I wanted to find out and to tell you about what we found, I'm going to turn to my co-author in the project. Sunaina Chugani from Baruch College, City University of New York. Hi Sunaina, how's it going? » Pretty good, yeah. It's good to see you. » Sunaina. I'm calling you because you did the lion's share of the work in our job choice studies. Could you please tell us what we found? » Sure, so » If you remember the reason why we did these job study settings was to see if people choose to sacrifice their happiness in even more bigger life choices, such as job choices. And we actually ran two studies, and the first one was in a lab setting. And what we did is, we came up with two job descriptions. One was described as being more extrinsically rewarding, but less intrinsically rewarding, so we described it as, for example, high paying, high stress, stressful hours, things like that. And then the other job, we said was more intrinsically rewarding and less extrinsically rewarding. So we said that It was a job that you would enjoy more, easier hours, but the pay was also less. And so what we did is we asked students to indicate which job they would, would prefer. We said, imagine you're close to graduating, you had these two job offers, which one would you prefer. And what we found was 57% of the students said that they would choose the intrinsically pleasing job over the extrinsically pleasing job. And I remember when we got this result, Rajit and I were like, what's going on? Because it's not what we expected, not what we had seen from anecdotal evidence and things like that. People have been told all their lives, you know follow your hearts. Do what makes you happy, and so they might be self presenting and saying that they would choose the intrinsically rewarding job to kind of protect their reputation, either to other people, or even to themselves. They don't want to admit it to themselves about what's going on. So, we thought this is what might be going on so we decided to use a technique used by psychologists called a Projective Technique, which tries to get at these underlying attitudes that people don't necessarily like to maybe admit to themselves which topics. So we ran the study again and this time instead of asking participants to indicate what job they would choose. We said what do you think the average student would choose between these two jobs. And when we asked these two questions, what we found was a flip. Now, only 19.8, so close to 20% said they would choose an intrinsically satisfied job. The other 80% said they would, the average student would choose the extrinsically satisfied job. » Great, so we used the projective technique huh? However, isn't it true that there is some debate about the predictive technique? So didn't we do another study that provided more direct evidence that people choose jobs that are more intrinsically than intrinsically satisfying especially when push comes to shove can you share that one with us? » Sure, so yeah there is some debate about this Projective Technique so we run another study which is so much fun to talk about and we did it over a span of a year and a half. And what we did was, we ran the study on MBA students, who were actually going to be going on the job market. And before we contacted them, though, we came up with a list of jobs in different industries, a pair of jobs for each industry. So for accounting we came up with two jobs in the accounting industry one again that was more extrinsically satisfying and one that was more intrinsically satisfying. And we drew from actual job postings and created these jobs for actual companies. And again, one would be listed as high on extrinsic rewards like money but sound more stressful, but in other jobs hire on intrinsic rewards, for example with a meaningful company and had better hours, and things like that. And so we had a list of many of these jobs for different industries. And then we went to MBA students in their first year and we asked them to look at these jobs based on whatever industry they told us they were in, we gave them jobs for that industry, and we said, rank these jobs in order of appeal to you. And again, some of them were extrinsic, some of them were intrinsic, so we wanted to see the relative ranking of these jobs in their first year. Then, we let a year go by and the next year we contacted these same MBA students. This was the year they were on the job market. They were actually in the heat of job interviews, and we asked them to do the exact same thing again, rank these jobs in order of intrinsic versus extrinsic and importance. And what we found is, when we compared these stage two to stage one job interviews. What we found is that, over time, MBA students were expressing more preference for the extrinsically-rewarding jobs relative to the intrinsically rewarding jobs. So, we saw this clear pattern, intrinsic preference decrease, and extrinsic preference increase, so that was pretty telling to us. » Yeah, so these findings show that the MBA students shift their preference towards astringent rewards when they are on the job market, but tell me, isn't it possible to argue, that they aren't necessarily sacrificing their happiness. What if these students actually derived greater happiness from higher paying jobs. That is, what if these students really don't care about astringent motivation? Isn't that a possibility? » That's a really fair question. It's a great question but I don't think that's explaining our results, because if that was the case, then we would have seen that even in stage one, that these MBA students would have exhibited a preference for the extrinsically satisfying jobs, ands we don't see that. We see the trend emerging over time. So, what we think might be going on is, people are using their ideals, what they think they should choose, happiness wise in stage one but as time goes on, kind of the pressure of the job interview season, seeing all of your other peers being on these job interviews. Thinking about competition that maybe motivates people to say, you know what, I need to choose the more competitive job out of the two. And I think that explains our results more than the idea that they think the extrinsic rewards make them happier. » Very good Sunama. These results definitely seem to rule out the possibility that the students derive greater happiness from higher paying jobs but what about the possibility that they want to take these higher paying jobs only to get a certain level of financial security? For example, pay off their loans and once they achieve that level of financial security, they will choose the intrinsically motivating jobs. In other words, isn't it possible that people do have their eye on happiness but, they're also being practical, and they're postponing the pursuit of happiness for just a little bit. Isn't that a possibility? » Sure. So I hear this all the time that people will say for now, I'm going to take the good paying job because I want more financial security but in the long term, I'm going to switch to that better job, right. Now if that was explaining our findings, what we would see if we could divide people up by financial security. So people who have low debt versus high debt and if that was explaining our results, we should see this pattern to be more strong with people with high debt but what happens when we factor debt into the equation, because we asked MBA students how much is your loan about and how much is your debt amount. We divide people by low and high debt using it as a moderator. You see absolutely no difference in the pattern over time. It's exactly the same whether people have low debt or high debt so it can't be that people are seeking financial security, and that's why we're doing this. » So, there you have it folks. As we've seen so far, people sacrifice happiness in a variety of scenarios, when making food choices, when interacting with the people in their lives, and even, when choosing something as important as a job in their lives. My colleagues and I call this tendency to sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals, The Fundamental Happiness Paradox. We call it this because, as we saw earlier, people think happiness is very important to them, perhaps even their most important goal. In other words, people think happiness is more important than value for money, say, or winning an argument, or extrinsic rewards, and yet as they go about their daily lives, people often seem to forget about this, and they often sacrifice happiness for the sake of these very goals. Now, you might think that the fundamental happiness paradox is not a big deal. After all, only a small percentage of people, like 15 to 20% seem to be sacrificing happiness in any one scenario, however, keep two things in your mind. Few people, will freely admit to sacrificing happiness for the sake of things like money, or value for money, or being right. Why? Because people don't want to admit that they have big egos and want to prove others wrong and themselves right or that they're money-minded. So the findings in our studies actually underestimate the extent to which the fundamental happiness paradox is prevalent. Based on results from some other studies that we've conducted, in which we used the Projective Technique, we believe that the proportion of people who sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals Is actually much higher, perhaps even double that which we found in the studies in some of the scenarios. Second, don't forget that we make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions each day. So even if we commit the fundamental happiness paradox in only a small fraction of the decision, we're still leaving a lot of happiness on the table. So, I will summarize our discussion as follows. On the one hand, we think happiness is important. We know this from several studies, including one of my own, and yet on the other hand, we routinely sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals and priorities, as we saw from the studies on fundamental happiness paradox. This indicates that we devalue happiness, which is of course the first deadly happiness sin. So the question is why do we devalue happiness? And that's the question to which I will turn in the next video. Till then, Adios. [MUSIC]


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