Study: Here’s How Your Job Affects Your Happiness

I’m a big fan of back-of-the-envelope math. But when it comes to job fulfillment, one simple math equation doesn’t cut it: People with two jobs are definitely not doing twice as well as people with one job.

Of course, this makes sense when you think about it, as those who are working more than one job are likely struggling to make ends meet, and picking up extra jobs in order to simply survive rather than thrive. But one study makes the distinction between the two ways of working even sharper.

After polling more than 1,000 working Americans, Insurance Quotes produced a report comparing the happiness of those working one job with that of those working two or more. Here’s what they found.

One third of workers with just one job cannot afford a routine medical exam

It’s no secret that your health is tied to your happiness, as anyone with a cluster headache or even just the common cold can affirm. But a full third — 33 percent — of one-job workers can’t even get a basic medical exam. That’s a shocking number, and it’s worse for those holding more than one job: 66 percent of one-job workers can afford a routine exam, but just 58 percent of multiple-job workers can do the same.

The unhappiest Americans are those working for a base pay, plus tips

The segment of Americans who are the least happy is easy to pinpoint: It’s those who get a base pay supplemented with tips. This group hit 4.3 on a 1-7 scale of happiness. However, they did rank high for one factor, work-life balance.

“More than 80 percent of base pay plus tip earners and self-employed Americans were happy about their work-life balance (the most of any group),” the report notes, “with just under 17 percent citing it as an unhappy aspect of work.”

Furthermore, around 60 percent of these unhappy Americans work in the food service industry. At the top of the happy list: self-employed, at 5.4 happiness, while freelancers trail them at 5.3 happiness.

Less than 60 percent of American workers are satisfied with their pay rate regardless of the number of jobs they held

59 percent of those with a single job — and 52 percent of those with more than one job — said they were not satisfied with the pay rate they earned.

For the millions of Americans working more than one job, financial security remains a distant goal.

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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