Many people presume that those who drop out of school must be desultory losers, right? Not so, according to Marta Zaraska, who reported in her April 2 Washington Post article, “Too Much Happiness Can Make You Unhappy,” that “excessive joy, or having lots of positive emotions and a relative absence of negative ones … may hamper your career prospects.”
According to Zaraska, ”Psychologist Edward Diener … and his colleagues analyzed a variety of studies … and discovered that those who early in their lives reported the highest life satisfaction … years later reported lower income than those who felt slightly less merry when young. What’s more, they dropped out of school earlier. Included in the studies was one involving a group of American college freshmen that in 1976 claimed to be very cheerful. Surveyed again when they were in their late 30s, they earned, on average, almost $3,500 a year less than their slightly less cheerful peers. Why?
Diener suggests that people who don’t experience much sadness or anxiety are rarely dissatisfied with their jobs and therefore feel less pressure to get more education or change careers.”