I was browsing online and I came across a quote that really resonated with me: “If You Don’t Feel Like Your Career Reflects the ‘Real You’ It Probably Won’t Make You Happy.” It’s taken from an interview on www.happiness-project.com and as soon as I saw it, I was nodding my head in agreement; you see, I’m living proof that it’s true*.
Early on in my career when I was a recent graduate I took on roles where my main motivation was my monthly salary, and each career move was about the BBD (Bigger Better Deal) in terms of earning potential. I was making good money for my age but ultimately the work I was doing wasn’t stimulating and I always found it a struggle to get out of bed and head to work in the mornings.
I figured that was just life – I mean, they pay you to work for a reason right?
I didn’t choose my degree subject with a particular career goal in mind, so I was just glad to get a job straight out of university, move out of my parents’ house and strike out on my own. But a few years down the line I realised that money isn’t everything; you spend 5 out of 7 days per week at work and if you don’t like your job or you’re working against your natural strengths and predispositions it’s going to take it’s toll.
Around 5 years ago I finally gave my career some serious thought and made a move into project management. I’m a natural organiser and I have always enjoyed taking on leadership roles and coordinating activities (I was always the one who’d organise nights out and things like that among my circle of friends, or volunteer to be group leader on joint projects at school), I also can’t stand “routine” and get easily bored and demotivated if I’m not faced with variety, learning opportunities and challenges in my work – by discovering that project management was a career option I had met my job-match.
Now it’s my job to do the kind of things I’m naturally inclined to do and enjoy doing, and I get paid for it as opposed to just doing things for family and friends for free (although of course I still do that!). I also found that once I stopped “chasing” money, money came to me because my performance at work improved.
There’s many a day the hours fly by because I’m in “flow” and get so engrossed in what I’m doing that before I know it the day is done. Yes, there are still those cold, grey, rainy mornings where I really would love to stay snuggled up in bed; but once I get the work I enjoy what I’m doing and I don’t spend 8 hours watching the clock and then rush out the door the minute it’s 5pm.
So to sum up this post; I urge you to have a think about the career you’ve chosen and whether it’s really “you”. If it is, I believe it will be much easier to excel in your chosen field, achieve your goals, and climb the ladder of success (in heels natch!).
*Disclaimer: – I know one person can’t be “proof”of a theory and the quote even has a caveat (“probably”) because there are people who can be perfectly happy even in a job that isn’t a seamless fit with their personality outside of work. I also realise I’m very lucky to have found a career that suits me so well and to have been able to pursue it.
Quote taken from Gretchin Rubin’s interview with Carlin Flora at http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2013/01/if-you-dont-feel-like-your-career-reflects-the-real-you-it-probably-wont-make-you-happy/