I don’t know about you but there have been times in my life when I have wondered whether we are supposed to be happy at work or if it is just something that we are all supposed to do to pay our way in the world.  Is it important to love what we do or is a job just a means of creating and paying for a life outside of career? I’ve listened to those people who say “It’s just a job isn’t it” or “You expect too much”.  Well, to those people, I say no, we do deserve to be happy at work and do something that we are passionate about and it is possible. 

Thankfully, I have found career happiness and I do feel motivated every day to do what I do, so in answer to the question – does it exist? Yes, it does! However, reaching this state can take some effort and introspection and a lot of commitment.  The reasons for career happiness are varied and what works for one person will be a turn off for someone else.  Career fulfilment is a personal thing and having a great salary or a company car doesn’t always equal happiness.

So, how can you find career happiness?

If you are reading this article and are not feeling truly content in your job, are you aware of when this feeling started?  Of course, there will always be periods where we are feeling less than content in our jobs and that is completely normal, however, if you have been feeling like this for some time, it may be time to reflect on why that might be and what you can do about it.

I can imagine that at some point in your career you did feel passionate and motivated and even the mundane aspects of your job didn’t bother you. Whether, that was because it was your first job after leaving university, or a promotion that you worked hard for, a project that you worked on which won an award, or simply because you worked with a great team who all supported each other.  All of these things can lead to career happiness and reassure you that you are on the right path.

So, what is it that is leaving you feeling so unsatisfied now? Has something changed at work? Or do you feel that you have changed since you first started working there? Do you want to change industries and do something completely different? How can you get that loving feeling back?

Here’s some great questions to ask yourself to kickstart this thought process: Do you know why you do what you do? What is it that motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? What’s important to you in your career? It is money, challenge, your work colleagues, working with customers, working with numbers, the location or the travel opportunities that a job can provide? The list of what motivates us to do what we do is endless, but this is not always apparent and for many years we peddle along in auto pilot until we hit a wall that makes us question everything.  This is when you need to be clear on what you want and take stock of what is important now, but it is not always easy to do this alone. 

A great way of getting to the bottom of what is making you unhappy at work is to keep a note pad near your desk and note down every task that you have completed or have to complete during one full working week and record how you feel about each task. For example, you had a meeting with a supplier – did you feel excited when you saw the meeting flash up in your calendar or did it fill you with dread? Why? Or, you’ve got to write a report for the Board – how do you feel about it? Do you enjoy collecting data and writing or does this bore you?

This simple analysis task may give you a lot of insight into what stimulates you and what drains you and may help you to work out what elements of a career make you light up and which dim that light.  Of course, we all have tedious tasks in our jobs, but if you find that for the majority of your day you are staring out of the window and wishing you were somewhere else then this task will hopefully reveal what is behind this.  You may find that where you work now is great, but you would prefer to work in a different department or you may realise that working in an office is too restricting and you want to change your work environment.

Good luck on completing this task and I would be very interested to see what the results are.  If something comes up that you would like to talk about, get in touch.

About the author: Hey there! I’m Lola Brocklesby, founder of Viva Career Coaching and I love helping people who are striving for more in their career finally find a career that they love.  If that’s you, please get in touch.