Finding the Right Job Path
Unless you’re a lottery winner or currently living off a trust fund, there’s a good chance you began the week by going to work. While individual job duties vary, most of us take part in similar tasks such as communication, problem-solving, technology use and working alongside internal and external clients. Depending on the day, week or year, these activities can generate feel-good thoughts of appreciation and fulfillment or something at the other end of the spectrum.
During the positive times, it’s easy to consider the job and company culture a good match. But in the off times, who doesn’t wonder if they are in the right place or if what they’re doing is worthwhile? Often these feelings are in direct correlation to how useful, recognized and appreciated we feel at work. Other things like office politics and company structure remain out of the realm of individual control.
Refining the Focus
Rather than trying to define work happiness as employment in a certain job or specific culture, it may be more helpful to focus on what you need as an individual in the current environment. This becomes particularly important when you realize what’s rewarding for one person is not the same thing for everyone else.
During those times when you’re not feeling the love, it can be worthwhile to recall why you took the job in the first place. What things attracted you to the role? Was it the ability to use specific skills and learn new systems? Or to explore a new career path? Once you know the answer, ask yourself if your feelings are different now that you have the job and know the culture.
From the inside, the vantage point is broader. Now is the time to consider if the reality still fits the original dreams. Understanding this difference can be an important starting point for seeing how your role relates to the organization as a whole. If you find a disconnect, it’s okay. This is the opportunity to examine if the job role still fulfills what you personally need to be happy in a role or if it’s time to branch out to other things within the existing company or look outside. Only you will know the answer to this.
Refining the Dream
- Know your strengths and values
- Evaluate what worked well in the past and what didn’t
- Continue to learn and explore
- Try a part-time gig
- Collaborate with someone outside the office
Continue to investigate these questions as many times as necessary to find the answer you’re looking for. Finding an answer involves honesty, patience and a healthy dose of self-care. Sometimes merely taking a short break during the day or a long weekend can help provide needed clarity. After a break, it’s can be easier to reorganize priorities and recognize you are more than a job title. Happiness, whether it’s on the job or in life, comes in many forms. Seek out the one that speaks to you.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire programs and direct hire placements, in addition to contract employment services.