Arbejdsglæde is an interesting Danish word, meaning “the joy of working” or otherwise “happiness at work”. Unlike in many languages, it an often used word referring to the level of happiness a person feels regarding the job. That’s why you should not be surprised if your boss in Denmark asks whether you are happy – just like that out of nowhere – hoping to get an enthusiastic “yes”.
The word “arbejde” refers to “work” and “glæde” to “happiness”. So the word refers to happiness at work and your inner feelings about the job, not thoughts about it. Actually, “arbejdsglæde” is not that often used in other languages unlike it is in Denmark. The word exists basically mainly in Scandinavian countries. In Denmark colleagues may actually wish you job satisfaction if you are going to settle on your task for a while using a similar word combination – e.g. “god arbejdslyst” = “good luck”, whereas “lyst” refers to “pleasure”, so the direct translation would be “have a good working pleasure”.
It might not be a coincidence that “arbejdsglæde” exists only in Scandinavian languages: Scandinavians have trandition on focusing on work-related happiness. That is also the reason why they do not push their children to jump straightly into universities as soon as they are done with the school since it is believed that children have to find what they are passionate about – and it is believed that passion and drive always leads for the best result. That it leads to the better, fuller future where they know what they want to do and have a drive for it. In this case, it leads to happiness at work.
Job Satisfaction = Finding Your Passion
Studies show that there is a direct link between happiness and work; besides, companies with happy employees perform up to twice as much compared to the ones where workers are not satisfied. Happiness at work is not equal to your salary, bonuses, benefits or tasks. Job satisfaction is: job satisfaction deals about you “feeling good” at work due to external causes, such as free fruits at work, tasty coffee or nice office. But happiness at work comes from your own feelings and not comfort you have around you. I remember once having stumbled upon an American peer who described me his part-time job very negatively so that I just asked – “do you even like your job?”. “Of course not, he answered, that’s why I get paid”. However, job satisfaction is actually a derivative coming from two things – the results - i.e. what makes you proud and relationships - whether you feel good about the people you work with.
Job satisfaction is not a complicated thing: it’s all about going to work and feeling good about it. It’s about contribution and positive difference that you create in your own and others’ lives. In Denmark, employers employ people who are passionate about the company and some certain tasks. Here, employers want to find perfect employees who would be ambassadors of a company instead of workers. Well, after all, we spend around 37 hours a week working – don’t we intend to change these hours into something pleasant rather than unpleasant? Job satisfaction is actually one of the three main sources of happines and the best cure for stress. Therefore, if your boss in Denmark asks whether you are happy – just like that, out of nowhere – you should think about changing the workplace if you cannot tell him an enthusiastic “yes” to the question he asked.
If you are interested in the topic, you might be interested in reading a book on Job Satisfaction: “Happy hour 9 to 5“.