4 ingredients for a happy career

The mission of Career Counseling Connecticut has been to help our clients become happy and successful in their careers.

Having worked with thousands of career coaching clients over the years, I have observed dozens of different ways that our clients have found happier careers. For simplicity’s sake, I will boil down to 4.

The happiness factors:

(1) You have to enjoy the activities of the work. Sure, this sounds obvious. But it is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. I know firsthand. I was an attorney. I liked being an attorney (see career identity below). I did not like doing legal work. When I speak with those in prestigious professions, this is often a common theme.

(2) You have to find meaning in work. This factor becomes increasingly important as one gets older. Realizing that your work has little consequence causes more than a few mid-life crises. Certainly, this does not mean that you have to be in a helping or otherwise idealistic profession. But you must think your work matters in some way.

The Success factors:

(1) You must have sufficient income for your basic needs. I will define basic needs more broadly than survival. I include those needs that due to your early programming you feel you need. This is a complex topic. But if you think you need to own a house — as opposed to renting a place — then that’s a basic need. If you think you should help your children pay for college, then that’s a basic need, a privileged one perhaps, but we all are wired in idiosyncratic ways.

(2) You have to feel good about your career identity. This could be labeled prestige for some or it could be that you like the identity of what you do. If you cringe every time you have to tell people what you do, that’s not good.

I also should add that, unfortunately, all 4 need to be in place for career happiness-success.

We can help.