My keys to a happy career

Early in life we think “I want a career that pays me a lot of money”.  Don’t get me wrong, not having to worry about paying the bills is a good thing.  But it really doesn’t sustain any sort of meaningful happiness.  I’ve been thinking a lot, what is it that actually makes me at at work?  I’ve come up with three items that are must haves for me.

  1. Purpose
  2. Responsibility
  3. Autonomy

While I’m sure your list might be slightly different, I’m confident that there are lots of similarities.  I need to work for a firm that has a purpose in what they do.  I’m not talking about “our purpose is to make money”.  I’m talking about things like “our purpose is to empower businesses to be the most successful that they can be”.  Without purpose, why would I want to go to work?  I’ve been in my field for more than 20 years, which leads me to responsibility.  I want to know I’m working on initiatives that are important, that will move the needle.  What you’ll notice about my needs is that there is a distinct overlap.  Lastly, I need to have autonomy to be able to be successful in the responsibilities I’ve been given.  This one seems to be the most difficult for many companies.  Autonomy isn’t about a lack of accountability.  It is however about a demonstration of trust.  A manager will micromanage every aspect of you doing your job.  A leader will get out of your way and let you control your own destiny.

This will lead into my next post about managers vs. leaders.

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