Happiness is…

28 August 2015 | Debbie Martin | About a 2 minute read
Tags: Happiness

… Going back to school

That’s a phrase I never thought I’d say in a million years.

When I graduated in 2001, the proud first degree-holder in my family, I was a sun-deprived, sleep-deprived bundle of nervous exhaustion. But I’d done it. It was over. And I would never return to the wild days of 80p pints, fancy-dress excess, kebab deliveries and student balls. I had had an absolute blast and made some life-long friends, but it was time to grow-up and get a job in the real world.

So that’s what I did. But what I finally learned is that leaving University wasn’t the end of the journey; graduation wasn’t the destination. It was actually just the passport on a much longer, much less predictable adventure. My career path from big company to small company to big company to small company has not been as planned, although parts of it have converged with the path I’d envisaged. But at times in life, and in work, a path opens up and you wonder how you didn’t see it coming all along.

And thus it began one Autumn day when I was merrily researching Happiness At Work and I stumbled across a mention of a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. The focus of this Masters was on the application of the research – how to put positivity into practice in the real world. Intriguing. And probably very useful for a Chief Happiness Officer…

Several Google searches, some months, a cancelled baby-shower and a Symposium later, I found myself filling in an application form for Bucks New University and shortly after that being interviewed and offered a place by the Course Leader Dr Matthew Smith.

And just like that, without seeing it coming, I am returning to being a student.


I’m approaching the Masters with an equal mix of excitement and trepidation. I have no idea how I am going to juggle two young children, working part-time and a Masters. But on the upside I am so excited about getting back into scientific research – this time focused on how to influence happiness throughout our lives, but especially at work. Being able to provide concrete substance to an area that remains an afterthought for so many companies will be hugely satisfying.

I will endeavour to capture the ups and downs of my journey through this blog, and will definitely share what I learn along the way.
Wish me luck!


  1. Positive psychology is the study of happiness. Psychology traditionally focused on dysfunction: people with mental illness or other psychological problems and how to treat them. Positive psychology, in contrast, is a relatively new field that examines how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled.
Read More From This Author

Share this blog post

Related Articles


We’re looking for bright, dynamic people to join our team!

Discover More Roles