How important is your career to your psychological health? Watch The Martian

Yes, The Martian is a movie.  No spoiler alerts will come as the basic premise is part of the movie’s description.  Matt Damon plays Mark Whatney, an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars in, what seems to be the relatively not so distance future.  Watch it as it is good movie and will help you understand how important work can be for your mental health.

We can tell ourselves stories: “work is work, my real life is elsewhere” but we can only fool ourselves for so long.  Work is life.  A lot of life.  It makes up the bulk of one’s days for at least 5/7 of every week.  Clients of Career Counseling Connecticut usually are not only solving a practical issue – a new job or new career – but also a psychological issue: “how can I make my life happier?”

If you know your “why”, you will be happier at work.

Whatney is stuck on Mars alone. He will die unless he can figure out how to save himself.  That’s a pretty big “why”.

If your “why” is that you need to pay your bills, then you have a “why” for not quitting but since there are many ways to pay your bills, you – unlike Whatney – do not have a compelling reason to stay in your career.

If your work activities are connected to “who you are”, you will be happier at work.

Whatney is an astronaut, so presumably a really smart general scientist, and also a trained botanist. As he solves different general problems, the viewer can see that he is enjoying the scientific problem solving required. When he is growing his plants, the viewer sees that he is relishing his work.

While Whatney is a movie character, Career Counseling Connecticut’s past clients have routinely written to us about their current happier work. “5 years ago, we met… I was miserable… we decided that the best path was… and now I find meaning in my work (the why) and feel like I should be doing this work (who you are).

Let 2017 be the year that you build your career.