The Happy Life-Happy Career Connection

“My husband is depressed.  I know you are not a psychologist but you helped my friend transition careers. She had been miserable and now she’s happy.  I’m hopeful you can do the same for my husband.”  Michelle, a caring wife from Branford, CT, called about her husband, an unhappy IT middle manager working in New Haven, CT.

I have noticed an increasing uptick in the number of career counseling inquiries from spouses of potential career counseling clients.  I don’t think this is due to the increasing number of concerned spouses but rather from greater awareness that unhappy careers lead to unhappy personal lives and, of course, unhappy marriages. 

Even though it had been several years, I remembered Michelle’s friend well. She had been some sort of claims processor at an insurance company in Glastonbury, CT. Twelve years of pushing papers had made her bored.  Six years of rumored job instability had made her anxious.  Three years of a terrible boss had made her angry.  Bored, anxious, and angry at work soon became the same at home.  ”I’m becoming a terrible mother and wife.” That was the line that I recalled so vividly because it was one of those double click moments that link past and present lessons.

When I was in my mid-twenties, a sage mentor told me that I wouldn’t be as good of a father or husband if I stayed in my unhappy large Washington, DC law firm.  I know that my happiness from my work puts me in a good mood and that when I come from work I’m cheerful and present for my wife and three children.  I hope that you can have the same good fortune.