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Happy Employment

January 12, 2011

Are you happy at work? Do you feel appreciated? Do you get constructive feedback or do you get antagonized? Do you know if there is a future for you in your company or is this a layover while waiting for something better? Are you excited when you walk in the door to begin your work day or are you filled with anxiety and counting the minutes until 5 o’clock?

I have had jobs that I loved and I have had jobs that I completely dreaded. I just finished reading an interview by Brian Moore from the New York Post with Michael Burchell of the company Great Place to Work Institute entitled “What Makes for a Happy Workplace.” This really brought back a lot of memories of past job experiences. In the article they discuss everything from compensation to feedback, all the way to what’s trending now in how to make the workplace happier.

Happy Workers

All in all, I feel Mr. Burchell has some great ideas although the company’s that he chose to illustrate examples of, I feel were not realistic. Especially considering the data I found at the US Department of State.

“Fully 99 percent of all independent enterprises in the country employ fewer than 500 people. These small enterprises account for 52 percent of all U.S. workers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Some 19.6 million Americans work for companies employing fewer than 20 workers, 18.4 million work for firms employing between 20 and 99 workers, and 14.6 million work for firms with 100 to 499 workers. By contrast, 47.7 million Americans work for firms with 500 or more employees.”
-From U.S. Department of State

I think it’s great that at Google your supervisor is also your coach, at Marriott the night shift managers cook breakfast for their subordinates from the overnight shift and Smucker’s factory employee’s believe they are “helping bring families together.” But in a company with 5, 10 or even 20 employees, most of this does not even apply and with as much walking as I do in Manhattan, I see a lot more small businesses than I do large ones.

I once worked at a start-up company in the beginning of the internet boom with only eight employee’s. We worked hard, really hard. But we had to because as small as we were, the only way to guarantee a paycheck every other week was to do everything we could to make a profit. Instead of hiring new employees when we would get a major project, we would agree to work longer hours and weekends in order to make a larger profit. We didn’t have a Human Resources Department, if we had a problem or an issue, it was brought up to the entire company and we hashed it out. If it was with another employee, we brought it up in front of everyone and hugged it out. Within two years we were acquired by a much larger company because the offer was just too good to pass up and we were sensing our larger clients wanting the perceived security of a bigger company. What a shock this was to our original group. They had Project Appreciation Parties, Self-Assessment Hours and Happy Hours almost every day.  Originally we would go out after work, but it was on our dime, not the company’s. We just couldn’t believe the money they were spending and of course within 2 more years, they were bankrupt.


I understand that programs like Bravo at Starbuck’s where you can nominate each other to get a pin probably does make employees happy, but I don’t believe that the hardware store across with 4 employees is nominating anyone for anything. In fact, they’re probably scrapping by hoping this economy will take off again sooner rather than later.

I realize in large companies there is a need to create communities and make people feel appreciated, but why aren’t there more articles about how to make boutique offices more productive with less, more engaging without constant interaction and of course happier. As the data illustrates the majority of businesses in the Country are tiny compared to Microsoft, Starbuck’s and Google so why do we need fluff articles about how to make mega companies happier? I hope Mr. Moore realizes that being happy is more than developing appreciative inquiry and extends outside the walls of the office.

Here at Gunwel we ‘re here for you, whether you’re happy about your taxes or not. We have a very comfortable Den, lots of candy & snacks and we have Cosmo the Amazing Tax Dog to keep us smiling all day long. We won’t give you any fluffy information that doesn’t apply to you and your situation, but we will listen and help you make the best tax decisions possible.  We stay late (8 PM starting January 15th) and six days a week (Saturday hours are 8 AM to 5 PM) to make sure you have every possible opportunity to come in and meet with our team.  Let GAI ( help you with your financial strategies. Call us today at 212-979-6830 or stop by for a visit and share your storm stories with us.

We can start, manage and grow your business

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 4, 2013 6:43 pm

    Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which
    blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and
    I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

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