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'Givers' at Work Get More Satisfaction

Nearly 70 of Americans cite work as a major source of stress in their lives; over half of Americans report being unsatisfied and unhappy with their jobs. How can the typical worker find a little more satisfaction in work? Adam Grant, a researcher at the Wharton School of Business, offers some simple advice: become a giver at work.

Based on his research, Grant has identified three basic kinds of workers: takers, matchers, and givers. Takers see the workplace as a competitive, dog-eat-dog place. "If I don't look out for myself first," takers think, "no one will." Matchers believe that work relationships are governed by even exchanges of favors. In contrast, givers are other-focused, paying more attention to what other people need from them. Their hallmark is generosity at work.

Surprisingly, Grant has found that only 8 percent of people describe themselves as givers at work. That's because most people assume that in the workplace givers will never get ahead in their career. Also, when people are stressed out at work, their first instinct is to retreat into a taker mentality. But Grant's research consistently shows that givers are among the most successful people in business. They may also be the happiest.

In one study, Grant found that givers who were high school teachers were less vulnerable to stress and exhaustion if they saw the impact their giving was having on their students. Being a giver at work also has lasting benefits on well-being outside of work. In a study of 68 firefighters, those who helped others on the job felt happier at home at bedtime than those who did not.

Grant asks a question that's relevant to every follower of Christ: "Would you rather achieve success [at work] that comes at the expense of others or in ways that lift other people up?"

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