Happy Countries, Happy Workers

Here’s an interesting article from Forbes magazine , a prime business mag for the consummate capitalist , on the world’s happiest or most committed workers. The study shows that although societal and corporate culture that vary from country to country can influence the employee’s happiness in the workplace, the overall happiness of a population play a big part in the employee’s commitment to his work. Surprisingly, the income levels or strength of the economy doesn’t necessarily affect the employee’s happiness at work. Some countries with prosperous economies don’t have the most committed employees.

Here’s the top 11 Happy Countries with Committed Workers

1. Australia
2. Netherlands
3. Switzerland
4. Singapore
5. Denmark
6. Ireland
7. Sweden
8. United Kingdom
9. United States
10. Philippines
11. Turkey

The inclusion of the Philippines in the top 10 , among first world countries is surprising. All the while we think that our seemingly worsening economic problems will make us a grumpy people. But no, for within our friendly and hospitable character lies a persistent spirit that makes us rise above our trials and tribulations. Although the workplace is never devoid of “intrigas” and petty politics we seem to live though it and never take it seriously. Perhaps the Pinoy worker can be epitomized as someone who “takes his work seriously but its problems lightly “.

Pinas is generally vibrant and happy place, with people who would spend their last money to have fun. I could be wrong but Pinas is one place you won’t expect someone to break in to the office and shoot all his co-employees because he was fired. The happiest days of my working career was when I was in Manila and it had nothing to do with the money I was making. The bond I developed with my work mates is something that I will cherish for a lifetime. Maybe it was because our office was around the Ermita area 🙂

I left Pinas in the 80’s but has the workplace changed? Methinks not. Anyone dare say aye or nay?



Our life is like a carpet, woven and inter-twined with the happy and not so happy segments of our life experience. We might be happy now but the happiness of our childhood might be of a different nature, more pristine and innocent. Happiness can be a paradox as well. Times of plenty doesn’t necessarily bring about more happiness than the leaner years. Some people who have achieved so much get distracted with the trappings of wealth lose the warmth of their relationships and consequently find life meaningless and purposeless. I am remind of the lyrics of the beautiful song Hungry Years popularized by singer Rita Coolidge.

We spun so fast we couldn’t tell
the gold ring from the carousel
How could we know the right would turnout bad
Everything we wanted,
was everything we had

I miss the hungry years
The once upon a time
The lovely long ago
We didn’t have a dime
Those days of me and you,
We lost along the way

This is supposed to be a happy post and I’m not supposed to make you feel depressed 🙂 Talking about happy, here’s one song that transports me back in time and brings me wonderful memories of a happy chapter in my life 😎


42 Responses

  1. Interesting stats. I downloaded that Hungry Years song – it is a very beautiful song 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    Never heard of Robbie Dupree before but the song is good. Sounds happy too!

  2. I can’t believe that Philippines is on the top 10. No way. =)

  3. Maybe it was because our office was around the Ermita area

    I can understand why you loved your workplace 🙂

  4. hmmm… interesting. i’d be happy too if i am working the ermita area. hehehe…

    and the filipinos being happy employees, hmmm… no wonder the middle class ain’t up to joining those political rallies. they’re simply happy with their work.

  5. Haha, Ermita… then you’re one of those people (like me) who frequent its numerous bars that often act as an after-work office. So many of those are closed now, with some moving away to classier places like Makati and Ortigas.

    Pinoys among the happiest workers? Hmm… maybe, but then again I often hear grumbling among employees about low pay and long work hours. Di kaya sila nagkamali?

  6. Quite surprising. Where’s Canada in the list? Maybe bacause we pay too much taxes? I thought Australia has lots of taxes too. I wonder what makes it special. Maybe I’ll move there. I want to be happy in my work life…he!he!

  7. I don’t believe in those surveys anymore…
    as they say…Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

  8. You know, you’re right! In the few years since I’ve moved back to live in Manila, haven’t heard of any local employee going postal on anyone 🙂

  9. I would say that it depends on the culture and the quality of people one works with. I was very happy with the first company I joined right after college. I enjoyed the camaraderie and the overall professional culture in that firm. I worked for 3 other Filipino companies after that and none of the other 3 came close to that first job I had.

    On your other topic, I love both the song and the message. I consider “The Hungry Years” as Neil Sedaka’s finest work. I didn’t know that Rita Coolidge covered the song too.

    Btw Bro, I hope you won’t mind but I tagged you and you can find the details on my blog. It’s an easy tag to do but do so only if your sked permits. Thanks.

  10. Irrealis – interesting stats indeed and I’m sure there’s data to support them.

    I’m glad you liked the song 🙂

  11. Jeff – it’s unbelievable but true. Forbes being a reputable mag would have checked the data before publishing them – I hope 🙂

  12. Ryan – there was so much to do around the office at that time hehe 🙂

  13. Palma Tayona – it was fun to work in the Ermita area was sort of the tourist belt on Manila around that time and I don’t know if it has changed 🙂

    Good observation on the middle class not attendding political rallies. Maybe they are having too much fun in the office hehe 🙂 The point of the stats was more on commitment towards work. I happen to think that due to hard economic times and the difficulty of finding work , Pinoys value their workplace because it puts food on the table. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  14. Snglguy – yes, it was fun coz it didn’t matter what day it was, we went to our favorite watering holes after work or even during lunch 🙂

    I had a chance to work in the Ayala, Makati area albeit briefly ( Greenbelt was an infant at that time) but Ermita area rocked man 🙂

    Suffice to say that when there’s lots of things office workers do together, the workplace seems to be a happier place. That’s just my personal observation 🙂

  15. Leah – don’t move yet hehe 🙂 there was another stats published in 2006 about the happiest countries in the world and had nothing to do with the commitment of its workers. Canada was no 10. The inclusion of Bhutan in the top ten was very interesting I thought.

    Here’s the link :


    There’s reports I’ve read about workers that whine the most and the French are on the top of the list but I chose not to blog about it lol 🙂

  16. Sidney – I like your analogy for stats the bikini 🙂

    Interestingly the bikini had been the subject of witty anecdotes. There’s one about a public speech being compared to a bikini – ” it must be short enough to keep it interesting but long enough to cover the subject 🙂

  17. Eric – true. we haven’t seen Pinoy workers ran amok because of a job firing. Maybe this is a reflection of our perseverance and the fact that we have extended family to bail us out when the walls crumble down on us real hard 😯

  18. Panaderos – as for me I enjoyed all the companies I worked with when I was back home. Maybe its because of my extroverted nature 🙂 Dang the pressure of work here seemed to have converted me to an introvert 🙂

    I have lots of former co-workers how have gone abroad and I get in touch with them all the time.

    I love the Rita Coolidge version over Neil Sedaka’s. I love the message of the song too. I remember one time I frequented the a pub that featured a man and woman duo that had the song Hungry Years on their repertoire. I always requested the girl to sing it 🙂

    Sure bro , it is my pleasure to do the tag 🙂

  19. Netherlands, a Happy country? Committed workers?

    where the heck did they get their stat?

    omigosh, this video brought back memories too when I was still an optometrist back home, darn! a colleague would always play this ..ah, those years 🙂

  20. Thess – perhaps the respondents of the survey were all from the happy city of Amsterdam hehe 😉

    Never knew you that you are an optometrist – that’s very interesting indeed 😎 Me too, this song reminds me of a very happy segment of my life 🙂

  21. i think Pinoys are happy workers because we eat hardships for breakfast and stress for lunch. We’re so used to difficulties nothing wears us down anymore (well, except politics and yes, politicians). haha 🙂

  22. pinoy’s laid-back attitude towards work helps us make happy too. interesting entry bw. at least kasama ang pinas sa top 10 at di ito negative list.

  23. Well most Filipinos really treasure some of their camaraderie more than they work. So if they enjoy the company and environment, no matter the stress are, we could still smile.

    Am surprised Singapore is there as I hear a lot from the news of Singaporeans committing suicide by jumping on their train stations. haha. I guess those are just a select few.

  24. This is a surprise and a pleasant one at that. After topping the most corrupt list almost all the time, now this one good list from no less than Forbes. I always thought how our workers, despite the hardships in life and bouts of laziness and disillusionment, always find time to laugh at their woes and haev fun at work, with all the tsismis and jokes all abound, life at work often becomes bearable.

  25. Barry – you mean we’re so stressed out that office becomes a form of escape from our daily misery haha 🙂 Looks like the politicians have to be around so we can have someone to beat up on 🙂

  26. Lawstude – true -we’re kind of laid back but not in the sense where we whine big time or renege on responsibilities 🙂 We’re not that confrontational by nature and we value relationships so we make the office a cordial place 🙂

  27. Ferdz – I know what you mean. I made so many kupmares in the places I worked back home hehe 🙂 The social life at the office is extremely important. After all we seem to be spending a good part of our day at the workplace, don’t we ? 🙂

    Yes, they are isolated incidents – so are the horrific workplace shootings that happened in the U.S.

  28. Major Tom – it is a pleasant surprise. Perception is important and positive coz especially for investors reading the stats in the reputable magazine, we score some pogi points 🙂

  29. i think it’s the camaraderie with the co-workers. i still touch base with former colleagues and have formed deep friendships with some.

  30. Mari – same with me. I got former officemates who migrated in the same city I live in. We still hang out with each other even up to now ! 🙂

  31. BW, right! those bunch must be from Amsterdam, ha ha! that’s a good one 😀

    yes, I was an opto…once upon a time 🙂

    btw, how’s your tagalog? you might want to join us here
    ..might be fun 🙂

  32. Thess – I need to see you for my reading glasses 🙂

    Although I am from the south, my Tagalog is quite fine – hey, thanks for the invite 😛

  33. I totally agree with you. I like being posted abroad but I must say… my times in the Home Office were so much more fun… kahit walang pera… cornicks lang… ok na. 🙂

  34. Maybe the employed Pinoys are just too grateful to have their jobs knowing that millions in the country are either underemployed or unemployed. So most of us hold on to our jobs no matter what.

  35. Toe – it’s less stressful at working at the motherland I think. People will stay a bit late to finish work gratis et amore and you will still find them cheerful – part of pakikisama so to speak 🙂

  36. Abaniko – you’re right. Underemployed folks still value their work coz it’s so hard to find one.

  37. wow…for the first time, we are included in some positive polls. hayyy, at least we are in the top 10. and look at that…committed workers! yehey! 🙂

  38. Ipanema – isn’t it nice for a change hehe 🙂

  39. aba, masisipag yata ang pinoy. me included syempre. hahahah 😉

  40. Nell – totally agree with you. We may not be perfect but kasama na sa ugali natin yung ayaw natin na may masabing sa mga ginawa natin kaya pinagbubutihan natin 🙂

  41. that surprised me. galing naman may ibubuga pa naman pala tayo kahit papaano sa mga listahan.

  42. Dong – that’s true. Meron naman tayong positive traits kung baga kaya may pag-asa pa naman 🙂

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