Penniless artists the happiest of us all

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16 Feb, 2012 Updated Thu 16 Feb 2012 08:09 CEST
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They often toil for long hours for little pay and even less glory, but artists are Germany’s happiest workers, according to a new study from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).

Artists – including actors, painters and musicians – are more than 1.5 times as likely to be out of work as the average professional, and could be earning 10 percent more if they got different jobs, the study, which compiled data collected over more than 20 years.

But although they may be fulfilling the stereotype of living penniless in a garret, their earnings are only half as important to artists as other professionals, the DIW said. And – in stark contrast to other professions - the more they work, the more artists enjoy their jobs, the report said.

As well as the constant stimulation of thinking creatively, part of the reason may be that artists often are able to enjoy the freedom of working autonomously instead of being under the constant thumb of a boss.

“More than every third artist is his own boss. Among people in non-artistic professions it is just one in ten,” said Lasse Steiner, one of the study’s authors in a statement. “Artists draw a much greater benefit from their work than from the money they earn.”

“It amazes me that artists turn out to be the happiest,” Christiane Busch, an occupational psychologist at the University of Hamburg told the Tagesspiegel newspaper, pointing to their difficulty finding steady work and struggles reconciling family and professional life.

The Local/mdm

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2012/02/16 08:09

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