Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happiness and the school administrator

Of all the subjects written about, I rarely read about the happiness that comes from being a school administrator.  As a matter of fact, I don't think I have ever read an article about that specific topic.  This is somewhat disconcerting.

As a school administrator, I wonder if happiness was a concept I gave up when I chose this path.  Maybe giving up happiness was in the fine print at the bottom of my internal contract to go the admin route.  Do administrators, essentially, inadvertently replace happiness with another emotion, like maybe satisfaction?  Of course one can be be happy and satisfied, but are school administrators generally able to experience both?

Then I reflect on my work and I realize that may not be true.  I certainly enjoy my work.  It is satisfying.  I know it is making a difference.  However, is it bringing me happiness?

Recently, I used the video below as a conversation starter with a group of middle school students.  They were somewhat amazed that their Division Head (Principal) would be interested in the concept of happiness and how it relates to them.  However, they all were able to think about happiness in a different way and, hopefully, left with a better understanding about how much control we do have over our level of happiness.

As school administrators, we should also take time to reflect on our level of happiness.  How much of it is related to external reasons -  happiness from receiving things or achieving goals?  How much of it is manufactured internally?

While I haven't read Dan Gilbert's book, Stumbling on Happiness, it is on my shelf and has moved ahead a few spots as a result of this video.  

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