Ask Yourself These 5 Questions to Find (or Create) a Job You Love
Don't wait for the job you love. Learn how to identify and create the job you love.
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A lot has been written about employee relations: how to lead and inspire effectively, how to ask for a raise, how to find work-life balance through self-care, how to establish and retain great employees, etc. These are all important topics, and there are many ways to approach the subject matter. But at the heart of almost all employee-related topics, it comes down to one thing: Is the employee happy?
Professional happiness is one of the most subjective topics because it means different things to different people. Some people simply do not care about how much money they make if they have the freedom to live their life without the confines of a typical job. Some people are very focused on how much they can earn and save towards financially-driven goals. Some people love to travel for work while others want to work from home. And others want to do things they enjoy and want to feel like they are contributing to something greater, regardless of the compensation. There are an infinite number of other examples of how people define professional happiness. So, no one definition can be applied to all people.
The key is not trying to come up with a universal definition for professional happiness, but rather the questions to ask in order to create your own personal definition. Here are five questions to get you started:
Related: 7 Secrets to Employee Happiness
1. What do you actually like to do?
Think about this question in general professional terms. Do you like regularly engaging with people? Do you like being creative? Do you like having a set schedule? Do you like working in a team environment? Do you like networking? Do you prefer having oversight or autonomy? Would you prefer to work around other people or from home? Make a list of at least 20 things you actually like to do professionally.
2. What are your strengths?
Are you great at creating reports? Do you excel at project management? Do you lead and inspire naturally? Do you love working with numbers? Are you self-motivated and directed, or do you work better with direction? Are you a great presenter? Again, think broadly and make a list of at least 20 things.
Related: 10 Secrets to Finding a Job You Love
3. Where do your strengths and what you like to do intersect professionally?
As you make the first two lists, you will start to notice some overlaps in your strengths and what you like to do. This is where you begin to define what makes you happy. The intersection of what you like to do and what you can do well is a win-win for any professional situation. Employers get more out of employees who are doing what they enjoy and are good at, and employees work harder and more efficiently when they are doing things they enjoy and things for which they show a strong aptitude.
4. Does your current work environment afford you the opportunity to merge your strengths and pleasures?
A lot of people like where they work. They enjoy the people around them. And they enjoy the company as a whole. They just don't find joy and fulfillment in what they do every day. It is perfectly normal to want a change of scenery, new challenges and new responsibilities. Odds are, you know what you do, the value of it and what your company needs as much or more within your capacity as the key decision-makers above you. And it is equally likely that your employer would prefer to have you contributing at your best. So, consider defining and pitching a new role for yourself that reflects your strength and preferences. It will show dedication and initiative, and it can potentially move you into a role that brings you better professional happiness.
5. What would be a great vertical move?
Even if you can't redefine your role at your current job, taking the time to define a new role for yourself that combines your strengths and preferences helps define what other opportunities you might want to pursue. In business, when people switch jobs, a lateral move often refers to taking a similar job elsewhere with a similar role and pay. And a vertical move often refers to moving to a job with more responsibility and pay. I tend to think that if you move to a job that brings you more happiness, regardless of the role of pay, it is a vertical move. Knowing what you want to do and what value you can bring will help you identify other opportunities that might be a great fit.
Related: Hate Your Job? Ask Yourself These 7 Questions to Find One With More Money and More Happiness
The two things most people do most in this world are sleep and work. This is why you should always be willing to pay more for a perfect mattress and work in a way that brings you professional happiness. It is up to you to define what that means for you and then pursue it with passion and purpose. So, ask yourself these five critical questions, and you'll be on your way to creating or finding the job you love.