I read this article recently: Why Following Your Passion is Bad Career Advice. I love this piece because it talks about joining an organization and working in a role where you can finding lasting joy at work. Specifically, the author offers 5 ways to be happier at work and build a sustainable career. He suggests you should:
1. Analyze the data of your daily life. He suggest looking at what energizes you and what you find rewarding…and also thinking about what makes you feel frustrated and unfulfilled. He believes you’ll get more insight into yourself vs. just asking what you like doing. I agree.
2. Find a workplace that supports your priorities outside the office. It’s all about finding that work-life balance. Look for what you need.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of learning. Look for places where you can aquire new skills and grow. This may mean doing some moving to work several different jobs in a row. Since I work in training and development, you know I think this is right on target.
4. Work with inspiring people. Enough said.
5. Develop rare and valuable skills. Develop is the key word here. don’t look for your passion, or follow your passion. Instead, develop a passion and skills.
I think all of this is great advice, but after 20 years in the workforce, I’ve got a few more to add. Some of my suggestions are really extensions of what the article talks about, and some of them are completely unique.
6. Don’t aspire to have money. Aspire to be wealthy in other ways. Read 9 Free Ways to Become Wealthy. This piece recommends you think about wealth as how much you would be worth if you lost all your money. An interesting twist.
7. Redefine what success looks like to you. It might not, after some self-reflection, be that you really WANT the job that comes with the salary you’ve always held as your ideal. Here’s a great place to start thinking about what success means to you: Redefining Success.
8. Make sure you work for a company that performs yearly equity (total rewards, not just pay, but inclusive of benefits, pay, etc.) audits on EVERY role in the organization. Then you don’t have to ask “am I being paid enough” and if you are really not, then work for someone who will go to bat for you to fix it. Everyone should feel like their work is valued. I am thankful that I currently work somewhere that does this kind of evaluation, because I remember what it felt like to work for an organization that did not.
9. Work for a boss you like and someone you will FOLLOW. I’ve had two bosses I despised. I was miserable and it affected every part of my life, not just work hours.
10. Work for an organization that is as dedicated to meeting your needs as you are willing to work hard to achieve goals. In my work past, I was an employee at two places that didn’t have such a supportive culture. To me, they felt like a toxic “all for me only” environments. I’m thankful I now work at TDS.
11. Drop the “you owe me attitude.” I’m not saying you have it. But work for what you want. Don’t expect it to be handed to you. If you have worked hard and you’re still not getting anywhere, it’s time to think about changing your employment situation.
I know what it’s like to want money, fame, success, title…blah blah blah. I also know what it’s like to watch someone die with those things and someone die without those things (the latter was happier and more fun and energizing to be around).