Finding Career Happiness: My Three Things

Photo Credit: lululemon athletica via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: lululemon athletica via Compfight cc

Reading this blog post on The Savvy Intern (I’m long past my intern days, but still love this blog) inspired me to think about the 3 factors that really drive me in my career. It’s been really important to me to define this, especially after reading Marissa Mayer’s piece on burnout in the workplace. Her solution: Find out the thing missing in your work-life balance that is causing resentment and make that your priority. So identifying my “three things” is instrumental to me avoiding a continual cycle of run-run-run-burnout-run-run-run-trip-run-skip-jump-burnout. I’m coming to a turning point where I’m not going to hold back anymore, and I’m going to fight for what is actually important.

So I’ve been thinking about this all week, and here is what I’ve come up with:

Flexibility

I need a flexible work schedule and the ability to work from a cafe or from home when I’m feeling worn out. I’ve noticed this big time over the last few weeks. Working out among people I don’t know — setting myself up for random interaction — is essential to my creative process. I also sometimes stay up until 2 AM working on a Sunday night, so I need some leniency Monday morning, por favor. Also, if my commute is going to continue to be 3 hours each day, I need some slack. In addition to all of this, flexibility would allow me the freedom to go back to doing what I love in my free time (yoga, running, baking, cooking, taking care of people, being there for my friends) without disrupting my workflow. Not feeling guilty about this is essential, and I’m not sure how many employers out there understand that. They say they do, but their actions speak volumes to the contrary.

Pay

Yes, I’m that person. I’m not taking that back. Pay never used to matter to me. I worked in publishing for a long time, so I didn’t have that luxury. But then I figured out how to apply my skills elsewhere. Then I moved to San Francisco and matured a bit and re-prioritized. Life is still very much about going out and being irresponsible from time to time. But it’s also about setting myself up for owning a home and supporting my future family. I think about these things in tandem with how I’ll grow my career. Money is a huge part of that. And I’m realistic about the soaring prices of rent. I want to own a home one day and take care of my family, and saving now in a high-yield account is probably the only way I’ll do this. So, yes, pay.

Opportunity

This means a lot of things to me: opportunity for creative freedom, opportunity to learn more, opportunity to work with new people, opportunity to fail, opportunity to move up in an organization. I need to feel freedom of opportunity. The moment I stagnate, I feel futile. I’m impatient, and that may frustrate people who are afraid of risk. So I don’t want to work with people who are afraid.

What’s next?

Asking the people I manage at work: What are your three things? What motivates and drives you? Then we’ll go over those things in our weekly meetings. I hope we can find a way for all of us to live what we love and to live what motivates us.

Have you figured out your three things or applied this in your own work with your employees? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or tweet me @carriemejones.

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