Chase had a great career and his future looked even brighter. A success in his chosen profession, he had reached the pinnacle of his career with all the markers of success surrounding him; the right car, the right title at work and a beautiful home.
I wondered why he would want to meet with me to discuss his career and future. It took no more than three sentences for it to all come pouring out.
“I have spent my whole career climbing to the pinnacle of my profession and I now that I am here I realize it wasn’t what I thought. I thought the promotions and the pay would make me happier and it didn’t,” Chase told me. “Everyone thinks I am a success, but I consider myself a failure. I have wasted all these years at a job I don’t like for all the wrong reasons.”
After my discussion with Chase I walked him to the door and watched him stroll to his new SUV complete with entertainment center and numerous screens that could play multiple shows at the same time. I envisioned my kids keeping quiet on our long summer vacation drives with such entertainment.
How hard could Chase’s life really be? Could he be that unhappy? Couldn’t one learn to love a job that provided a similar lifestyle? Give me a raise or a large bonus and I can show you happy!
It was difficult to watch an individual so depressed about his successful career. As I thought about my conversation with Chase the words of Henry David Thoreau came to mind: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
Chase wanted to change his job because he realized his career wasn’t providing him a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
Unfortunately for those who think more and more (and more!) money will solve their problems, research shows that your career fulfillment is not largely dependent on how much cash you bring in, but a list of other factors — which you actually can control.
Read through the following “Career Fulfillment/Happiness” factors and determine those you currently find at your workplace and which aspects you may be missing:
1. My work is interesting and challenging.
2. I am appreciated in the work that I do.
3. I have the opportunity for growth and development.
4. I see a future in my current role if I choose to not be promoted.
5. There is a good environment at my workplace.
6. I have a work/life balance
7. I have friends at work
8. I have a voice at work and I am able to say my opinion.
9. I get rewarded in different ways for my hard work
10. I feel there are opportunities for advancement
To find career fulfillment we all have different wants and needs as individuals, but what is most important is to take the time to identify the factors that are important to you. Before you take a new job or a promotion or change your career; weigh in on the fulfillment factors before you let money play a strong role in your decision. For long term career fulfillment and enjoyment look to the list--Remember, it’s your career!
A consultant, author, PhD, triathlete, father, and resident of Gilbert, Dr. CK Bray is a career and organizational development expert who has worked with numerous organizations – ranging from Fortune 500 companies to emerging start-ups. He can be reached at ck@DrCKBray.com or find his blog and more at www.DrCKBray.com.