Aimee B. Davis Law P.C.

Happiness Is a Choice!

{3:48 minutes to read}

In May’s blog article, we introduced hypothetical characters, Mary and Barney, to demonstrate how differences in the work ethic of various employees can impact one’s professional and personal levels of satisfaction.
As a reminder, Mary, a hard-working and well-intentioned employee, was asked to stay late by her boss. Barney, while an adequate employee, would not do as good a job, nor would he meet the important deadline with the same commitment as the boss knew Mary would.
Several of my readers questioned the role the boss plays in perpetuating these discrepancies.
Let’s assume Mary would like to set meaningful work/life boundaries, but her company’s corporate culture dictates that unpaid overtime is a requirement to maintain her job. She would prefer to work a regular 8-hour day, then go home to a family dinner, but she is the primary breadwinner. Losing this job would create a financial strain for her family. She feels caught between a rock and a hard place when she is asked to stay late to complete a project or meet a deadline.
Let’s further assume that the company has no budget to adequately compensate Mary for her overtime. What can be done to incentivize Mary to continue to do good work and stay with the company?
The boss could offer Mary “comp time” to make up for those late nights, but when Mary is out of the office, said boss will need to rely on Barney. Not a great option for the overall well-being of the company.
Mary’s willingness to go the extra mile should at least be acknowledged in her annual review. Knowing she is good at her job and is recognized by her superior may create some goodwill with Mary, but seeing her colleague continue to skate by while she takes up the slack can become frustrating.

What can you do when you feel powerless to effectuate actual change in your professional environment?

Don’t feel frustrated, victimized, or miserable by your current set of circumstances. When I was struggling to find new clients for ABD Law, a wise friend of mine said to me: “Happiness is a choice, and a negative attitude will surely sabotage your success!” I instantly knew she was right, as if a light switched ON!

Therefore, the best solution for Mary may simply be to take action for herself. If you are unhappy with something in your life, assert your agency by choosing something different. As noted in my June blog article, going outside of your comfort zone will likely result in increased levels of self-esteem and self-satisfaction.

In this regard, individuals have at least 3 choices. You can:
  • Make a direct change, such as eliminating the thing that is making you unhappy;
  • Change your attitude about what is making you unhappy; or
  • Change your behavior and create an opportunity to focus on something else that provides you with fulfillment and joy, i.e. find a distraction.
So go for it, even if it makes you uncomfortable!

Aimee B. Davis Law P.C. is committed to advising its clients and resolving issues relating to the legal and business matters that are important to them. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (917) 617-2243 or email

Aimee B. Davis Law P.C.

122 Ashland Place
Brooklyn, NY 11201


  1. Hi Aimee,

    Really liked this story. I was once in this position and made it clear that I had home obligations and while I am more than willing to help with deadlines I will need time off at another time to do what I need for my family. It resulted in longer lunch hours and some half days off. If you don’t speak up, they will take advantage of you.

Comments are closed.