How to Find Happiness In Your Job

By Kris Young (@thehybridform)

Are you happy with your job? Do you come into work, sit down, and then sigh with your head hung low? If so then you are not alone.

According to Forbes[1] 52% of Americans are not satisfied with their work. Some surveys place this number above 80%. This begs the question why? Do we study the wrong subject in school or apply for the wrong job? Maybe we followed the wrong advice from our high school guidance councilor.

Psychology Today [2] says we spend 90,000 hours of our lifetime working. Why not enjoy our time. The question is, “How do we find a job we love?”

Traits of a Job to Love

There are three areas that people who love their job have in common. These can be used as a measurement of job satisfaction:

  • Creativity
  • Impact
  • Control

The first two areas feed our natural human desire to belong. We are social beings and seek confirmation and a place in our community to achieve self worth. We do this by helping others, which in turn helps ourselves.

At the same time we wish for freedom, a way to disengage from the pack. The last area, Control, addresses this instinct.

Creativity

Using one’s imagination or original ideas to express oneself is a human trait we all share. You can find creativity in all professions. Artists and musicians have obvious expressive qualities. How about IT professionals? Or bartenders? Absolutely!

Conjuring an internal thought to realization for an audience is the heart of creativity. Even if that audience is you. Be it a new algorithm or a business process. Think about what you do at work and how you can be creative. You may already be on the road to job satisfaction.

Impact

Knowing our creativity matters to other people is important. Who wants to toil away on a problem nobody cares about? An impact gives you validation of your hard work and results in a feedback loop, which in turn compels you continue creating. And on the loop goes.

Feedback can be in the form of pay raise, bonus, more autonomy, or peer recognition of a job well done. All feedback gives us a chance to adjust into the next loop. We will tend to veer towards creativity that gives us the most positive outcome and the biggest impact.

Control

Living life on your terms is a very seductive prospect. Having the choice to do what you want when you want in you own time is a right we all share. This aspect of your job can be summed up as career capitol. The more career capitol you have the more control you will have in you daily life. It’s the freedom to express yourself and control your destiny.

You want to introduce a new process to the business or a new ingredient to a recipe? Can you leave early on Friday to pick the kids? If you feel you need permission to start a new creative endeavor then you need more career capitol in the bank. But how do you acquire this?

The Advice

At some point in your life you will hear someone say, “Follow your passion”. This could come form someone very successful or smart. A person you respect or wish to live up to. He or she seems legit; why not give the advice a try?

I’m here to tell you this is the worst advice to give or follow.

Sure there are people out there who have an inherit passion at a young age; those people are few and far between. Chances are you have no idea what you passion is anyway. And it will change overtime. If you don’t have a passion then you may feel left out or somehow not able to be happy with your work. This is demoralizing and contributes to the dissatisfaction with your job, a vicious cycle. FYI passion is a synonym for suffering and who want’s to suffer.

Better advice is to adopt a craftsmen mindset and become “So good they cannot ignore you.”[3] Having a craftsmen mindset is far more important than a passion mindset.

The Craftsmen Mindset

Achieving craftsmanship of an in demand and/or rare skill will present you with career capitol. Which goes a lot further in creating work you love.

This means working hard, learning as much as you can, and becoming the expert. Some people say the trick is to choose something you like, but that’s is not really important. You may not know what you like or where to start. If you do great! If not try something new. What ever you choose adopt a craftsmen mindset. But remember the more rare and in demand the skill, the faster you will accrue career capitol.

Adopting a craftsmen mindset will lead you to your passion. You will have creativity, impact, and control. You will find yourself creating the work you love to do. Your passion will find you.

Short Story

If Steve Jobs followed his passion we would not have the iPhones, iPads, or MacBooks. His passion was studying Zen Buddhism. Though a fluke meeting and noticing some people were excited about model-kit computers an empire was born.

He became passionate about technology and science. He became so good you could not ignore him.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/06/20/most-americans-are-unhappy-at-work/

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thrive/201102/finding-happiness-work

[3] http://lifehacker.com/5947649/steve-martins-advice-for-building-a-career-you-love

About collectivegenius
Everyone has a voice and great ideas come from anyone. At Cobalt, we call it the collective genius. When technical depth and passion meets market opportunity, the collective genius is bringing it’s best to the table and our customers win.

One Response to How to Find Happiness In Your Job

  1. Jag says:

    Great post. The advice of following one’s passion is unadulterated baloney. I really like the idea of craftsmanship. But sometimes, a good combination of average skills can be just as effective ( How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big – http://www.amazon.com/How-Fail-Almost-Everything-Still/dp/1491518855 )

    Like

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