In the 79 years average lifespan of humans 40 years, between that age of 20 and 60, we are deemed worthy of working and producing useful output. And we call this period, “Career”. We have to put a lot of thought and go through tedious self-reflection when we make decisions that forge our path and affect nearly half of our lifetime. But usually, during this process, we do not ask ourselves and others the right questions; questions that actually push us to find fulfillment at work. Taking a step back to see what our work means to us is important at any stage in our career. A large number of people believe following a passion, living a stress-free life and being rich is the meaning of a fulfilling career, but I believe that is not entirely true. Is that surprising? It probably is because we have always heard that this is what has made people happy.
Through my experiences, I have seen that work is always fun if one can relate to it. So while your interest will make you like your job your commitment will help you relate to it. Commitment here stems not from your passion but from being passionate about the work you do. Here are a few questions, I think, will guide individuals to find what they want to do and more importantly, why they want to do it.
1. Is the work you are doing engaging?
To understand if you are engaged in the work you do, consider these few things- every day you are free to decide how to work, you know what is expected, you have a variety of tasks, and you are given good and timely feedback. It is also important to note if you like getting things done at work and don’t procrastinate.
2. Does your work help others?
It is always wonderful to see the work you love doing being useful for others. So when you evaluate your job ask yourself if you are directly or indirectly helping others. And a heartfelt ‘thank you’ can be more satisfying than money.
3. Are you good at your work?
This is a tough one. We usually do not want to accept that we are bad at our jobs and hence would never try to ask this question to verify. But it helps to understand if you are doing well. This is not just about results. It is also about being able to produce more than what is required. Another good measure would be your ability to get things done without a lot of help from others.
4. Do you have supportive colleagues?
Motivated and encouraging colleagues can make even a dull job interesting. Similarly in a great job, having conversations that enhance ideas and help problem solve effectively, occurs by having a good bond with your co-workers. So evaluate your equation with your team every time you look at your career.
5. Are there things that are making a negative impact?
Even when the answers to the 4 questions above turn up positive, other factors like a difficult commute, long hours, sense job insecurity and unfair pay can make life difficult. Though these may seem obvious, they are usually overlooked because of perks in other areas. These are hygiene factors that are important to consider before making a choice.
6. Does your work fit with the rest of your life?
It is widely believed that personal life and professional life are supposed to be maintained as separate entities but in reality, your personal life and your career are two sides of the same coin. So to have a great career, it has to fit in with your personal life and create a balance.
Hence, when you look for your dream job, ask yourself these questions and build on making your career fulfilling. After all, at the end of the day, we are most accomplished when we are proud of our work and have people to share our victories and grief.
About the Author:
This writing is a compilation of Jayanthi’s own experiences and various literature on career and career advice. Jayanthi is the Chairperson of Ad Astra Consultants and is responsible for Business Development. To read more of her thought follow us on LinkedIn.
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