Jumping On The Bandwagon: Businesses Distort Happiness Science With New Job Titles

Joybird (isn’t that a great name?) is seeking Customer Happiness Specialists to go above and beyond customers’ expectations over the phone and online. What does Joybird do? They make mid-century furniture (read reminiscent of the 1950’s). What is the role responsible for? Selling customized furniture on-line and resolving problems, a basic customer service job with some sales responsibilities.

Are these souped-up job titles a response to the rhetoric that Millennials want jobs with more meaning? I can’t think of anything that will lead to faster disillusionment than thinking a job involves making people happy and realizing that your ability to contribute to others’ happiness depends on the other person’s willingness to be happy.

Lake Norman Screenprinting Factory is looking for a Customer Happiness Manager to take orders, provide job quotes, communicate with customers, multi-task, and “deal with a crazy boss” who constantly flings tasks at you. The ideal candidate isn’t happy waiting for the phone to ring and doesn’t show up drunk or steal stuff.

Perhaps now is a good time to remind my loyal readers that happy people exhibit higher ethics and are less likely to be dishonest or violent.

CleverPet is an interesting company that is using neuroscience to improve their client’s mental health and they are looking for a Customer Happiness Specialist. Why do they make the list? Because the clients they apply neuroscience for our pets, especially dogs, but the role is to serve the pets’ people as customer service representatives. If they can figure out how to make dogs less anxious when their owners are away they might have an understanding of human happiness. Am I expecting too much?

Lovepop is looking for a Customer Happiness Associate to sell their amazing greeting cards (my description) and service customers.

When I found Try the World’s ad for an HR & Happiness Manager I thought I might have finally found a job that would actually require some knowledge of skills-based happiness. But, alas, no such requirement was even hinted at in the job requirements. Do they want someone who “likes to have fun” but isn’t that nearly everyone? At first, I thought they were really missing out by not wanting some knowledge of positive psychology and then I saw this is a part-time position that pays $17 an hour and realized they’re just talking the talk.

Turning my attention to education-related jobs, hoping to find evidence that they were using current research (or even decades-old research) but it was not to be. The Art of Education Customer Happiness Guru reports to the Customer Happiness Manager and provides customer support, efficient and organized office and project management and event planning. Beyond friends thinking you are fun, there were no happiness related qualifications. Would your friends tell you if they thought you weren’t fun? Would they be your friends if they didn’t think you were fun?

JobScore is seeking Customer Success & Happiness in a role that could lead to long-term happiness for the applicant since you’re only required to work in San Francisco during your first six months and after that, you can work from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection. That’s cool. It’s basically an online customer service role with some unique requirements including “a few good stories about stuff that happened in college” while you were earning the required 4-year degree. You get Bonus Points if you have the ability to “exude a zen-like calming vibe on demand.” If you want to go for this job, skills-based happiness training can help you develop the Zen-line calming vibe—it is actually very helpful in customer service situations.

Calendy is seeking a Customer Happiness Specialist to “delight the hundreds of thousands of people” who use their service. Their list of perks includes unlimited snacks, soft drinks, and coffee, catered lunch on Fridays, ping pong tables, foosball and free beer on tap. I’ve known some people who were pretty delightful after a few beers, but it was a fine line between delightfully funny and obnoxious. It will be interesting to see how they manage that. Do you have to use your employee ID card to dispense the hops? Is it like those corporate events where they limit your free drinks to two using coupons that non-drinkers give to those who wish to imbibe? Do you receive discounts on health insurance if you don’t drink the beer?

OhMyGreen is looking for a Happiness Manager to ensure their customers are happy, healthy, and more productive by providing the healthiest and tastiest foods. The Happiness Manager will deliver a delightful experience while managing a budget and mentoring Assistant Happiness Managers and Happiness Crew Members and designing sleek kitchenettes. They require a degree in the humanities, business, or social science which may explain why they don’t seem to be aware of the research that demonstrates that being happy first has a significant impact on food choices and happy people will choose healthier choices and unhappy people will choose less healthy foods even when healthy options are readily available. Do you think Calendy should add OhMyGreen’s products to its offerings?

Finally, GoFundMe is seeking a Customer Happiness Agent. They have a great detailed list of skills the applicant must possess but none of them have anything to do with understanding and increasing happiness in oneself or others. Well, empathizing can be helpful, but it is a dose-dependent temporary measure—not anything that facilitates permanent changes. Based on their list, skills-based happiness training would help their employees develop the skills they’re hiring for, including grit (see the discussion on resilience by Newmind Group). Grit, resilience, and hardiness are three words that researchers use to investigate the same thing and make it more difficult for people to find all the related research.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has standardized job classifications because they help us compare similar positions. Although an HBR (Harvard Business Review) article recently reported that creative job titles can energize workers, creating personalized fun titles to supplement official titles is probably a better way. For example, an infectious disease specialist became a germ slayer. Standardized titles help benchmark salaries, education requirements, and other important information. It’s clear from this article that using creative titles that aren’t well-defined and don’t accurately portray the position would make the difficult job of finding a new position even more difficult.

There is a clear gap between the state of evidence-based knowledge about happiness and the level of knowledge exhibited by businesses. Organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) can do a lot to educate employers about skills-based happiness and skills-based resilience. Both happiness and resilience lead to increased success, better physical, mental, and behavioral health, and to better relationships of all types. These are mission critical aspects of every business.

If you noticed today’s post is more acerbic than my normal tender talk, chalk it up to the impact of illness on mental processes. A case of pharyngitis entered our home and stole my voice. I’m hoping it returns soon.

Jeanine Joy, Ph.D. is a former c-suite executive whose 20-year quest to find the answer to one question, “What makes humans thrive?” led to the founding of Happiness 1st Institute and the writing of five books about skills-based happiness and resilience. She is currently making the final edits on two new books, Mental Health Made Easy: Develop Healthy Habits of Thought to Improve and Sustain Your Mental Health, and Harness the Power of Resilience: Be Ready for Life. She is a sought after motivational speaker and trainer.

Jeanine Joy, Ph.D.
Jeanine Joy, Ph.D.http://www.happiness1st.com/
WORLD CHANGER, International Speaker, and Trainer – Dr. Joy stepped up to do everything she could to help humanity thrive more after she discovered that she could help to improve societal problems by empowering people to manage their mindset, develop psychological flexibility, and use their innate emotional guidance. She began studying the genesis of human thriving in 1995 and as her knowledge grew she became a thought leader and educator. The evidence-based techniques she teaches and writes about create improvements in physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Her approach has a direct, positive effect on crime, violence, relationships, racism, educational outcomes, suicide prevention, employee engagement, happiness, career success, and more. She focuses on solutions that are both affordable and scalable because she wants to help everyone have a greater opportunity to achieve their dreams and goals. As the owner of Happiness 1st Institute, a Thrive More Now Company, Jeanine speaks internationally and provides training to organizations through her empowering, practical, and usable techniques that target the root causes of human thriving. She is recognized as a bridge builder who creates bridges by translating jargon-laden research into usable information with practical examples that help individuals fulfill more of their potential.
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