A lesson on joyful-purposeful careers

Most of Career Counseling Connecticut’s clients contact us with a career problem. Much of what we do is help them find work that is more suited to their happiness. Here’s a story that illustrates why happy work on a day to day level is so vital for a good life from one of our clients who did not have a “career problem” by normal definition.

“Jack” had built a company from scratch. Twenty years after the company’s creation, he would go into work and, in his words, be the captain of the team, leader of the community, and even father of the work family; his work activities were a mixture of challenging but satisfying and sometimes just enjoyable; and while he worked full days, he still had time for a vibrant life outside of work. He also earned enough money to live a very nice lifestyle. Most years, he earned around $300,000. He has saved enough to put his two children through college and his retirement nest egg, currently a bit shy of a million has him in great shape for retirement, (he’s currently 48) assuming market conditions are reasonably normal or even a bit below normal when he won’t work anymore.

Jack came to me several months ago because he was offered a bit north of $3.7 million to sell his company. The instant reaction was amazement, joy, delight and the urge to immediately sign on the dotted line. Jack is wealthy compared to most people on Earth but not in a position to stop working, unless he accepted the deal. But he came to Career Counseling Connecticut because every day since the offer he woke up with a pit in his stomach. At first, he dismissed his gut as just nerves from a big life change. But he soon realized it was something more.

Jack and I discussed his two options: sell the business (he would be gone but his workers would stay so there was no guilt about hurting others) or keep the business with no guarantee that this offer – which he viewed as fairly unique – would ever come around again. His business-minded friends thought he was nuts to even consider not selling. His kind-hearted wife thought differently. She knew that his work (1) provided Jack a sense of satisfaction (2) a community and (3) a day to day life that kept him happy. She saw what he was like when he was idle too long – he had experimented with taking a few stay-cations when the business was self-running – and knew that his happiness dipped.

“I’m happy. I go to work each day, doing what I like.” Why would I give that up? That’s where Jack landed.

Find happy work. Call (860) 510-0410 or e-mail.