Here was one takeaway from a conversation I had with Scott Anthony Barlow, CEO and Founder of Happen to Your Career, who I met earlier this year:
“Work isn’t meant to make you happy all the time.”
Instead of seeking relentless happiness in your career, he advises that finding a good fit is more realistic. Figuring out that fit involves several components.
First you need to be clear on your strengths – not only are these the things that you’re good at, but they also need to be strengths which you enjoy using within work, and which have some kind of value to other people.
Once you have those established, you can focus on identifying what sort of things are really important to you in a job. These are sometimes referred to as ‘career must-haves’: typically two-three things which you feel so strongly about that their absence could deter you from certain employers, types of work or even specific jobs. These factors may include your working environment, a level of flexibility, or the need for intellectual challenge.
The final piece is aligning your career must-haves with the strengths you identified. All this information can feed into your job search strategy; ultimately helping you to find a good fit that’s right for you.