Chase had what seemed like the perfect career and life. A success in his chosen profession, he had reached the pinnacle of his career with all the markers of success surrounding him; the right car, a thriving business, a beautiful home, beautiful wife, exciting vacations and brilliantly smart and talented children. During our first meeting I even found myself jealous of all his accomplishments, that is until we began discussing his work. “I have spent over 15 years climbing to the pinnacle of my profession and I have never been so unhappy. I never wanted this career and I knew it the day I started. Everyone thinks I am a success, but I consider myself a failure. I have wasted all these years at a job I hate!
It was difficult to watch an individual so depressed about his successful career, a career many women and men would have killed for and Chase didn’t care. As Chase and I talked the words of Henry David Thoreau came to mind, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” I learned a valuable lesson that day from Chase. Do work that you love……
After my discussion with Chase I walked him to the door and watched him stroll to his new SUV complete with entertainment center consisting of three different screens that could play three different shows at the same time. I envisioned my kids keeping quiet on our long summer vacation drives watching three different screens instead of our measly one. How hard could Chase’s life really be? Could he be that unhappy? I could learn to love a job that provided me a similar lifestyle.
But that isn’t how it works, no matter how badly I wished it did. All the happiness research shows that if you love your work, if you are passionate about it and you strive to excel at it….you will generally be happy about your work life. The key to increasing our happiness is finding work that utilizes our strengths and incorporates our passion into our work. You see these individuals around our community if you watch closely — people who love what they do and take pride in their work, no matter their salary or circumstance. They follow after Harry David Thoreau’s self description “I want to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” Enjoy your job, Remember, it’s your career! More to come with specifics on creating the career that you love.