If you were lucky enough to attend the webinar “Transform Your Career from Misery to Happiness” presented by career coach and HBA member Diana Galer, you may find yourself thinking about your career journey in a new light. Diana challenged us to think about the times when we were truly happy at work and then focus on what specific aspects about the job made us feel fulfilled.
After a long, highly-credentialed and successful career in Pharma, Diana’s position was eliminated. Without her job, career and identity (who doesn’t define themselves by their work?), she took time out to pinpoint the highs and lows in her career before she successfully transitioned into her role as career coach. Career lows cause us to lose heart – a toxic environment, office politics, doing what others want, even hiding behind a work persona that doesn’t reflect our true selves.
Sometimes we create barriers and hold ourselves back from pursuing happiness in our career. Are you holding onto any limiting beliefs? In the 19th century, physical exercise was considered bad for a woman’s health. Are you hanging onto any false assumptions? Just because in the past a hiring manager didn’t pick you for a similar role, forge ahead and apply for jobs that interest you now. Are you projecting your own negative interpretations to situations where you don’t have all the facts? Ask what else could be happening here. The hiring manger may not have called you back because she is on vacation. Are you letting negative self-speak dominate your thoughts? Chase those gremlins away. Picture them as cartoon characters and squash them.
Only 5% of us on the call reported being happy in our current role. Nearly half were wondering if there is something better out there and the rest were downright frustrated. It comes down to answering the question “should I stay or should I go?”
If you are not happy, but decide to stay, then it’s time to re-engage. Avoid negative water cooler talk and toxic people. Remember what you first loved about the job. Recreate the excitement of those early days. What did you enjoy? Do more of it. What else would you like to accomplish? Create options that add value to your job. Learn a new skill. Do something different that is meaningful to you.
Nearly a quarter of us on the call are currently in transition. Change in job status can be more impactful than the loss of a spouse. The people who navigate transitions best are those able to answer questions like “who am I?” “what did I learn?” “how did I get here?” and the most critical “what do I want?” which is different from “what do I think I want?”
The overwhelming majority of us on the call are mid career. The list of what we can do is huge, while what we may actually want to do is more focused. With our education, job-specific hard skills, well-honed soft skills, experience and strengths, we need to be careful that what we can do doesn’t crowd out what we want to do. We need to align our work with our values and internal drivers - to what gives us purpose and meaning.
Happiness occurs at the intersection of strengths, pleasure and meaning. We find satisfaction in ourselves when we excel in what we are doing and what we are doing allows us to grow. Happiness comes not from being focused on ourselves, but rather when we are aligned with our greater purpose.
Diana Galer will present a one-hour interview skills workshop titled “Bring Your Best Self to the Interview” to HBA CIT on March 11 from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM at the Morris County Library. Her website is www.theteamdoc.com.