The world sure has changed a lot in the last couple of months. As many of us deal with job uncertainty or loss, it might be a good time to figure out if we’re really happy with our careers.
Ask yourself, “Am I happy in my job?” or “Was I happy in my last job?” Knowing the answer will help you derive more satisfaction from work. Maybe you’ll even be able to find true fulfillment with your work.
How can we find fulfillment at work and have a better professional life?
Discover Your Strengths
We’ve all been asked the cliched question in job interviews, “What are your strengths?” It’s a cliche because it happens all the time, but it’s also a great question to ask. It identifies whether we’re self-aware and whether we understand how we steer our careers with that knowledge.
Knowing what your strengths are determine how fast you advance in your career, and ultimately, how happy you are in your job.
Unfortunately, we’ve spent most of our lives thinking about our weaknesses. How many times did:
- Teachers mark up your essays with a red pen or comments?
- Parents tell you what you were doing the wrong thing when you tried to help?
- Employers note your weaknesses and then discuss them in your annual performance review?
It’s so easy to point out the negative and much harder to praise the positives. (Just think about the percentage of negative to positive comments online. They’re heavily weighted one way, right?)
But when we praise and compliment people, we’re not only raising their self-esteem, but we’re building ours as well. So, instead of focusing on your weaknesses, think about what you do well.
You can even take online assessments to find out what your strengths are and learn what your “naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior are.” These are the natural abilities that you instinctively apply productively to life, but more specifically, to your work.
Do What You Enjoy
“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
This popular expression is used a bit too much, in my opinion, but I do agree with the sentiment. I take it to mean that you’ve got to enjoy what you do to make work seem less like a burden.
Ask yourself about the problems you want to solve for people while you’re at work. Is it that you want to help people do something or be something, like a coach or a manager? Maybe you enjoy the sensation of working with your hands to produce something at the end of every day, like a baker, carpenter, or artist.
No matter what you enjoy or love, take note of where you feel most content. Remember what tasks and activities bring you the most peace and make the time fly by.
Develop Your Proficiency
If your strengths match up with your passion, congratulations, you’ve got a more natural path to job satisfaction. But if they don’t match, it doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
You’ll have to work a bit harder on your skills to learn how to do your passion well. Take courses to fill your knowledge gaps. Practice, whenever you can to master those skills well. You don’t have to be an expert, but you do need to have a high enough level to make the task seem somewhat effortless.
Because at some point, you need to make money off that skill and work. Taking twice as long as everyone else to do the same job means you’re earning half as much. Your return on investment will be significantly lower than everyone else.
Find the Profitability Sweet Spot
Since the world doesn’t run on love and the barter system, you’ll need to trade your time for money. That’s why identifying your strengths and learning the skills that feed into and flow out of them is essential. They’ll help you find a job that brings you immense satisfaction.
You’ll enjoy trading your time for money doing it because it’s something you’re good at. You’ll experience true satisfaction and fulfillment every day you’re at work. The money is almost a bonus (I say almost, because it is necessary, right?)
To succeed at work, we’ve got to enjoy what we do. If we don’t derive any satisfaction from it, we won’t feel fulfilled. Most people spend their entire working lives hunting for fulfillment, and people rarely say they are satisfied at work.
Maybe it’s time to decide on a career or job path that brings us more joy and fulfillment. It might make the world seem a lot less scary, wouldn’t it?