A few months ago, Nancy and Tom (disguised names and story details) came in for separate career counseling appointments on the same day. It struck me as interesting because they worked in the same building in Hartford and both complained about their jobs for similar reasons. Each felt they were not making a difference in the lives of others and each felt that their creativity was stifled.
When I wrote Career Path of Abudance, I immersed myself in the literature related to career happiness. The findings confirmed what I had found in my years providing career counseling in our Connecticut offices. The happiest careers usually involved helping and creating.
Some definitions are worth examining.
Happiness – in my expansive view – does not simply involve “smile bringing moments” but also includes fulfillment. So, for example, a nurse an intensive care unit would be described as having a happy career if she felt purpose/meaning through her work.
Helping careers go beyond the service professions (health care workers/teachers/counselors) but includes other career paths that directly and tangibly lead to solving the problems of others or building up others. For example, the student services coordinator at the college where I teach Constitutional Law constantly helps students find activities that help them. My fellow entrepreneurs often guide their teammates to higher levels.
Creating does not merely involve artistic endeavors. One of the joys of entrepreneurship or running a business unit without micromanagement is figuring out how to create a sensible business model. Jobs that allow you to put your own unique flair on your tasks are creative.
Our career counseling work involves leading our clients in practical ways towards careers that bring happiness. The solutions often include shifting towards work that is more meaningful and more creative.