The subtitle of the book: Career Wisdom For Idealists Seeking Happiness and Success stems from my view that a good career should provide both career happiness (which I define extensively in the book but can be quickly defined as work that provides both enjoyment and meaning) and career success (again defined in a more elaborate way in the book but which can be quickly described as work that fulfills one’s financial and self-esteem needs).
Those who had both career happiness and career success had different ways of phrasing why they liked their career path. But one Connecticut teacher said it best: “I’m doing what I should I be doing.” He was a high school teacher in Fairfield County and was keenly aware that his income was dwarfed by most of his Connecticut Gold Coast neighbors.
He felt added financial burden due to both his literal needs – his wife did not work since they had two children under 5 at home and society’s gender views – we have come a long way as a society but it is still the case that family financial pressure falls on men more than women.
Nonetheless, he said that they “had enough money.” He made his bills. They were not in debt. When his wife went back to work in a few years, they would be able to save. ”When I’m not comparing myself, I think we have all that we need. I didn’t grow up rich so I don’t miss what I never had.” He then continued: “But almost everyday I come back from work filled with satisfaction.” We discussed that “satisfied” has a different meaning than joyful.
Perhaps it is what soldiers feel when they accomplish a task. Those on a mission to help others – like hospice workers – derive meaning and purpose more than simple happiness.
“I’m doing what I should be doing” he repeated. “So I guess I do fit your definition of someone with a career path of abundance.