The Unhappiest Person Ever Is A Female Lawyer

Well, the unhappiest white-collar worker, that is. A survey of such folks reports that the least happy among them is "a 42 year old, unmarried woman with a household income under $100 thousand, working in a professional position (i.e. as a doctor or a lawyer)."

The happiest, according to the survey by Captivate Network: "He's 39 years old, married, with a household income between $150-$200 thousand, in a senior management position, with one young child at home and a wife who works part-time." The survey offers a number of possible reasons for this happiness disparity (aside from the simple fact that Mr. Happy is taking home more money). For one, men are more likely than women to take breaks from work for personal activities, like exercise, eating, or even sex. This presumably means women have worse work-life balance problems — and while these problems affect everyone, they affect women more severely. Female workers are more likely to suffer stress, headaches, and other physical complaints as a result of conflicts between life and work.

It makes sense that a man who already feels entitled to breaks, and who has a partner who's not employed full-time to take off pressure on the home front, might feel pretty fancy-free. But why are unmarried women less happy than their married coworkers, many of whom are probably married to full-timers? Maybe it's because they'd like to have a family but don't feel they have the time — or maybe, since they're single, they're pushed to put in even more hours because they don't have family obligations. This data doesn't prove that marriage makes women happier, and it has plenty of limitations — the exclusion of blue-collar workers is a big one. But it does reveal that the old stereotype of men simply working harder than women isn't true. In fact, women seem less likely than men to recognize that they need time to themselves — and they're suffering for it.

Captivate Office Pulse Survey Reveals Men Are Happier Than Women With Their Work-Life Balance [PRNewsWire, via ABA Journal]