What does it take to be happy at work? That’s the question we’re exploring in this three-part series. Last week, I wrote about purpose, next week I’ll write about the importance of relationships, and this week I’m talking about the importance of autonomy. What do I mean by autonomy? In this context, autonomy refers to the degree of control employees have over their ability to make decisions in their jobs.
I'm considering starting my own law practice right now and am somewhat surprised that I cite having complete control over my practice as a primary reason. It is critical for my happiness at work. Thanks for this insightful piece, Jessica.
As an educator, I see the importance of autonomy for both teachers and students and it's holding a lot of American education back. Curriculum matters, but keeping teachers tied down by prescriptive curriculum keeps the teacher from growing and stunts student learning. Giving students autonomy to determine SOME of their learning actually helps them feel more like what they are learning matters and they are significantly more engaged. There is a balance, and we need to work to find that balance.