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Why Older Workers Are The Happiest Employees

Seems that with more gray hair in the workplace, comes more smiles.

Fine wine, good cheese, George Clooney. Some things just get better with age.

As it turns out, happiness at work may just be one of them.

A new study from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that a whopping 90% of employees over age 50 describe themselves as somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs. This level of career satisfaction appeared across the board, regardless of gender, race, education, political views, and income level.

The study also found that solid minorities of older workers reported that their age has had some negative impacts on their workplace experiences: Many had received negative age-related comments at the office and had been passed over for raises and promotions. However, it was much more likely for the workers to express positive feelings and experiences about their workplaces.

So, why does the older crowd have it so good at the office? Tom Smith, director of American attitude poll the General Social Survey, says the findings make sense. He told the Associated Press that since older people have already climbed the career ladder, they’re now enjoying the increased job security and higher salaries that come along with having surpassed the challenges of striving for advancement.

If you’re looking to boost your own career happiness, you can always try hiring a career coach, negotiating your salary or even switching fields. But if the findings from this survey hold true, happiness may just come with time.

This article originally appeared in Learnvest and was reprinted with permission.

Jacqui Kenyon is an editorial assistant at LearnVest. Her work has appeared on Forbes, The Week, Lifehacker and more. She loves maps, photography, the ocean and all things tea-related. Follow Jacqui on Twitter and Google+.

[Image: Flickr user Refracted Moments]

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  • robbyGregg

    this is because many older people have realized over time that they are not defined by their job, and their measure of success is not necessarily the same as what is accepted in the job/company context.

    these are the people who go out of their way to help you with unmistakable sincerity, leaving you wondering what's in it for them or how they get measured for this.

  • Guest

    Definitely agree with benoulli down there. As a youngin you're pressured to be "successful" which has evidently shown to suck your soul and make you feel like everything you're doing is depriving you because you're not living that 'American Dream' bullcrap. I'll rather develop the work ethic of a child when I actually enjoyed creating things and doing things out of my heart. As a child I could always turn the supposedly worst circumstances into a ball of good fun and find a way to make living better. This idea of making life better to live has shown to naturally bring wealth to those who do it.

  • bernoulli

    You don't care about being successful as much as you did when you were young. Your definition of success changes as you age. By the time you hit 50 you've grew out of the following:

    Phase I: I want to be better than anyone else so more people like me

    Phase II: I never became better than everyone else so I will regret my past decisions

    Phase III: I've wasted so much time not thinking about myself and happiness

    Phase IV: I understand that I am the product of my past but the author of my future

    Phase V: I don't have it that bad really, what am I worried about, I should be happy (age 50)

  • David Richardson

    EARTH SHATTERING! Typically the pay grade increases along with age, more money, less problems.