Well, you worked hard to earn your degree(s) and you and/or your family shoved out a lot of money to have you attend college. Was it all worth it? Now that you have been out of school a few years or maybe just a year or so, are you finding the “real world” to your liking? Did you make the right career choice or are you having doubts about the direction you seem to be taking?
3 Important Principles to Consider
There are three important principles to consider if you want to achieve success and have a high level of satisfaction in your career:
- Be passionate about what you do for your life’s work. Or, at least like the very activities and tasks you do every day.
- Get along with and have respect for the people you work with every day.
- Believe in the company’s mission, values and its products and services.
If any one or more of the above is missing, you are heading for trouble. And, most importantly, you are likely to compromise your happiness and true potential.
A while ago, I met with a bright, young lawyer who had been out of law school for several years. Having graduated from a prestigious school, he had little difficulty finding a position in a top law firm. He explained that he was not happy and felt disillusioned and disappointed at what he had experienced thus far.
At first, he thought it was the law firm he had chosen to work for, so he left to join another well respected firm. But the change only served to deepen his level of dissatisfaction.
After discussing the matter with my young client, it became clear that he had never developed a passion for practicing law. When I asked him why he had chosen to concentrate in law in college, he explained that he found the law studies to be intellectually stimulating and challenging. And he seemed to fit in with other law students and especially enjoyed the intellectual debates. He admitted that he never thought he would actually be an attorney.
He continued to explore a profession in the legal field mostly to please his parents who he felt would be disappointed if he left.
The lack of passion for law made it difficult for this young attorney to endure the daily mundane tasks he was asked to perform for the more senior lawyers. In essence, his daily activities involved doing research necessary for the preparation of court cases. He found this boring and demeaning. You see, in college he was used to the intellectual rigor and investigating and discussing interesting cases. As a fledgling attorney, he was “paying his dues”. Unfortunately, this individual ignored Principle # 1.
When the Passion is Missing
If you don’t feel passion for your work, then you are just going through the motions. Why would you want to spend your valuable time and energy doing work everyday that you don’t really believe in? Would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who lacks passion for her profession? How about being a passenger in a 740 jet and having a pilot who lacks passion for his job? Get the point?’
Principle # 2 is very important. Those of us who work for a living (which is most of us), spend more time with our co-workers than our loved ones and friends. Given this, doesn’t it make sense to work with people we genuinely like and get along with? Yes, I know that people who work in a large company don’t get to choose their co-workers, but this shouldn’t be a reason for not making serious efforts at finding common ground with their co-workers.
Sometimes, it is just not possible to develop comfortable and enjoyable co-worker relationships. A marketing professional I once knew struggled for several years to get along with his co-workers in spite of serious differences about values. He finally left his company when he and his colleagues disagreed about how inferior products were to be marketed and sold. You see, he felt strongly that any blemish or imperfection should result in the product being reduced in price or not sold at all. He was a stickler for quality!
An intelligent and very driven woman came to see me because she was feeling frustrated with her job of nine months. Having graduated from an excellent university, she landed a job immediately following her graduation. The money was great and the opportunity to be part of a small, entrepreneurial company was exciting and challenging.
But something was missing and she became increasingly disenchanted with her company and the work she signed on to do. She came to realize that she had little interest in the actual products and felt they offered no value to our society. This young woman had always cared about people and thought that someday she would do work that made a real difference in people’s lives. She had a total disconnect with her own values and the values of her company. She realized she was only there because of the excellent pay and her need to be responsible for herself. Unfortunately, she was paying too high a personal price and sacrificing her happiness and well-being. She violated Principle # 3.
As a young professional if you had the choice of being happy or unhappy, what would you choose? A no-brainer, right? You would choose to be happy, of course. Then think hard about your career decisions and consider the three important Principles as you pursue your chosen career.
Need help in finding your true passion and purpose? Core Themes has created a proven career development program utilizing a unique four-phase approach to help people do just that!
– Ray Inglesi, Core Themes Founder