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People have very different ideas about what happiness is. It can be the affirmation of others, the reaching of the pinnacle of success or the discovery of love. But for Germans, it seems that happiness is something else.
The recipe for happiness in Germany includes job security and a nice benefits package
A new survey conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation shows that those Germans who enjoy the benefits of so-called "jobs for life" -- positions such as those in governmental, educational and institutional employment -- are the happiest people in the country.
The results are unsurprising. These jobs offer security until retirement, impressive benefit packages and a contractual comfort zone which is impervious to scandal, laziness and the end of usefulness.
Imagine being in a job where you can sit undisturbed in your own office every day, underperforming and using up resources while still bringing home a tasty salary and accumulating a tidy retirement package, safe in the knowledge that only committing mass murder will result in you getting the sack. Wouldn't you be happy?
Throw in the guilty pleasures gained from making other people's jobs harder, slowing productivity to a crawl and firing off inane e-mails on the hour about random office observations and you're looking at employment nirvana.
Secure employment gets a high happiness score
Employed, secure 30-somethings in western Germany
On the Bertelsmann happiness rating system offered to those taking part in the poll, these lucky people rated their existence, on average, as a 7.9 on the scale where one was miserable as sin and ten was ecstatic.
However, unemployed people in Germany were not that far behind. On average, they rated their happiness at 6.2.
Germans in the west of the country appear to be happier than those in the east, according to the poll. Western inhabitants rate their happiness at an average of 7.5 points while eastern inhabitants rate it marginally less at 6.9.
The survey also shows that Germans in their 30s are the happiest age group with a rating of 7.9 on the happy scale.
So if you're a 30-something, employed person with job security, living in the west of Germany, you must be feeling pretty pleased with things right now.