Have you seen and felt this trend in your workplace, too? What happened to “choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”? (According to Confucius … or Warren Buffett.) I suppose you could simply describe this as “burnout,” but I think that, in order to “love” a job, certain criteria have to be present.
The criteria I list below are in no particular order, because I believe that everyone prioritizes his or her value and importance based on individual motivations. But I think they all have to be there somewhere in order for you to feel joy and a sense of fulfillment in your job.
1. Sense of Purpose and Contribution
This lets you know that what you accomplish adds value to others, and is seen as valuable by them – whether they are a client, a coworker, a company, or a community. Says Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.” I think we also need to feel attached to something external to us in order to be fulfilled at work.
There is also the adage from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” I believe we have to have a sense of contributing to others – especially when it’s our full‐time job.
2. Alignment of Personal Values and Accomplishments
“To feel more fulfilled, your actions and activities need to be in alignment with what you deem important,” says Deborah Day. I value making a positive difference in people, and giving them the opportunity to also make a difference in their own and others’ lives. That’s why I teach and consult: seeing people’s eyes light up with understanding, potential, and possibility gives me a feeling of fulfillment.
3. Proven Competence
You need to feel as if you have the ability – learned through education and experience – and the required tools/structure to accomplish the task and create the product or service in a manner that meets your personal and your client’s quality standards.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do,” according to Steve Jobs.
4. Sense of Optimism
Knowing that tomorrow is full of opportunity, and you have the capability and attitude to harness the potential that exists there, and add value to it – that will help you feel joy and fulfillment. Edmond Mbiaka says: “You can never complain your way to a fulfilling life.”
5. Personal Responsibility and Self Worth
You need to know the feeling that you made this happen. You are accountable for the creation and the result – without you, this could not have occurred with this level of quality and value.
“There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something,” according to Henry Ford.
Where can you find joy and fulfillment? Look around you – search for the areas where you can see and feel the factors above – and continue to follow that path. Need guidance? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. –Brad Malone, Partner, Navigate Management Consulting