Crafting a love for your career: strategic steps to being happy at work
Bringing a powerful and impactful language to the workplace in the search for greater fulfillment
By Antoine B. Carrière, Finding Career Fit Coach
November 13, 2023
It is rarely heard in a professional context except in the study of people who have true happiness in the workplace. For these people, it is a word that comes up often and is the part foundation of their success in the workplace: love. Yes love. This word that so many use with reverence and caution in our personal lives, should in fact also be part of our vocabulary in our work lives.
The inner compass: how to match the true you with your career
Thinking about yourself is the first step toward loving your position. Find out what drives you, your talents, your strengths, what motivates you and what you're passionate about, and think about how these things can show up in your career. Know that every task, no matter how small, can show what you value and what you're good at. When the work you do every day connects with your true self, it stops being just a job and becomes an important part of your life. Finding ways for your purpose, competencies, and values to fit in with your position so that routine tasks become chances to express yourself, feel fulfilled and achieve excellence.
The strategic pathway: setting and aiming for career milestones
Now that you know the true you, it's time to set strategic goals. Progress and growth, not just reaching end goals, are often what makes people happy in their positions. Make a list of your career goals with an eye on where you want to be and an open mind about where you are now. Think about how you can try and explore areas of your profession. Reflect on how you can bring value to your team all while experiencing different areas of work.
Every step, from picking up a new competency or skill to leading a part of a project, helps you get closer to your career goal for your current career stage. Always remember that the point is to enjoy the journey as well as the end result. Setting small goals that you can reach helps you stay motivated and gives you a sense of success as you move up in your career. Integrate how you will be on your path to mastery and expertise, not just comprehension.
The balance between work and life: creating happiness and strength
A position that makes you happy should also fit in with your personal life. This doesn't mean a perfect balance, but rather a mix of work and life that makes each other better. I refer to work-life balance as committing as much time, energy and resources to work and home - not about spending an equal amount of time, which really helps to understand a healthy balance to strive for.
Enjoy the routines and rhythms that your position gives you, and look for ways that it can give you new experiences and chances to learn. Pay attention to the times when you can connect with others and be creative at work, and let them inspire your personal projects. Building a network of people who can help and inspire you at work, working on projects with other people, and looking for tasks that challenge and interest you, you can turn the daily grind into something that makes you happy and satisfied.
Learning from career challenges and lows
Accepting the ups and downs of your career is essential for achieving deeper career satisfaction. Every problem, challenge, or setback is a chance to learn something new. Think of these times not as failures but as valuable lessons that will help you grow professionally and be more resilient. Think about what each tough situation teaches you about your strengths, weaknesses, and how to solve problems. Know that setbacks and low points are a normal part of any successful career path. They teach you things that you can't learn from success alone.
There is a general misconception that success comes from moving up the career ladder and although this is true for some, this is often not the case for most. Acquiring knowledge, experience and competencies are just as, dare I say more, important than getting the next title. When you think this way, you turn lack of promotions, staying in a position for 18 to 24 months and other challenges into stepping stones and even low points into a base for future success. This way of thinking not only makes it easier to deal with the bumps in your career, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction because you know that every experience helps you grow as a person and as a worker.
Building good relationships with coworkers
The relationships you build with your coworkers are a big part of why you love your position. Making and keeping good, helpful connections at work can have a huge effect on your career satisfaction and health in general. Talk to your team members, share your ideas, and help each other out. Set up a space where working together and talking freely are normal. Celebrating successes together, working together to solve problems, and valuing the different skills that each person brings to the table can make your daily work more enjoyable and satisfying. Remember that having good relationships at work not only makes your immediate workplace better, but it also helps you build a strong and active professional network that can help your career in the long run.
Some final thoughts
To sum up, loving your career isn't just about the work itself; it's also about how you do it, what you bring to it, and how you fit it into your life as a whole. Finding a role that not only meets your needs and your capacities but also feeds your true self is what it's all about. All of these components are part of the road map to that goal, showing you how to find purpose and happiness at work in a world that is full of challenges.
You can make your career a fulfilling and enjoyable part of your life – not just one we do to meet financial needs. You can start saying that you love your work.
This is one of the beliefs we have at the Finding Career Fitä program of the Strengths Performance Centre. We need to build careers that go beyond just meeting our skills and capacities. We need to find positions that will align and allow us to fulfill our career aspirations.