Nov. 28, 2021

the 5 keys to career happiness.

the 5 keys to career happiness.

When you enter the workforce as an adult for the first time, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be working at your dream job.

In fact, you’ll probably be very far removed from it. You’ll look up at the many people above you and get discouraged once you realize how far you have to go.

A lot of young people realize this early on. We quickly learn that the work world ain't all sunshines and rainbows, that success is not handed to us on a silver platter.

Upon understanding this, we often find ourselves at a crossroads early on in our careers, asking ourselves all sorts of tough questions.

Is this really what I want to do? Do I really want to go down this path? Will it be worth it? Am I ‘following my passion’?

Many of us answer “no” to these questions, leading some of us to duck out early.

We change our career paths because we feel we’ve made a mistake. Because we’re not happy. Because we haven’t found the perfect job. Because it’s not our passion.

In reality, career happiness isn’t based solely on following your passion. There’s more to it.

Job satisfaction and fulfillment truly requires a combination of five things: passion, curiosity, purpose, community, and money.

1. Passion

Yes, you must have passion. But we have a misguided belief when it comes to passion.

Passion isn’t what you love.

It’s what you’re willing to suffer for.

The root of the word harkens back to the Latin term passios, meaning “to suffer.”

So what are you willing to work longer hours for? What role still excites you even when your boss is a piece of shit to you? What are you willing to do on a Saturday morning when there’s an emergency?

Think about it.

2. Curiosity

Secondly, you need to follow your curiosity.

What are you excited to learn more about every day? What has you thinking and researching and discussing outside of your work hours?

Curiosity is key. If you don’t have that, you’ll never push yourself. You’ll never get better. And if you’re not getting better, you’ll never fall in love with the process. And if you never fall in love with the process, you’ll never find career happiness.

Period.

3. Purpose

Perhaps most importantly, you need to feel like you’re making the world a better place. That you’re contributing to a cause much greater than yourself, that you’re improving the lives of people around the world in some tiny way, and that your work is paving the way for a better today and an even greater future.

You will never find career happiness without that incredible feeling.

Simple as that.

4. Community

As human beings, we are meant to be a part of something.

Sympatheia, the ancient Romans called it.

We’re in this together.

And when it comes to fulfillment in our work lives, we need to feel like we’re a part of something. And that we’re valued members of a team filled with members who can rely on one another when we need help.

That’s why “culture” matters. Without a positive workplace environment, it’s very difficult for employees to find that sense of belonging within a community that’s so powerful.

We don’t have to be friends with everyone we work with (after all, talking shit about co-workers is one of life’s greatest pleasures) but we must have all the boats pointed in the right direction.

5. Money

And lastly, the perfect job needs to pay you decently.

Money is not the motivation. If it is, then you’ve got the wrong motivation.

But it’s a real thing that all of us need. We have dreams to buy houses and support other people in our lives, and we need to be reasonably compensated to make those dreams a reality.

If you make a lot of money but don’t have passion or curiosity, you’ll be miserable driving to work in your Ferrari.

If you have curiosity and passion but don’t make any money, you’ll feel like you’re getting screwed.

And on and on and on.

Passion.

Curiosity.

Purpose.

Community.

Money.

They all matter. Without these five components, you’ll never find what you’re looking for from your career.

If you have them, congratulations.

If you don’t, you’ve got some work to do.