There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the happiness and well-being factor in the workplace. This conversation has actually been going on for considerably longer than a few years. You may recall the “work life balance” fad and “job satisfaction” craze.
These are really interesting conversations to have, and even more interesting to listen in to. Not least because of what sparks them and the different arenas they are being held: most recently, the Marissa Mayer and working from home kerfuffle and the impact working from home has on individual well-being vs. organisational well-being.
In my opinion, individual well-being is often far more difficult to pin as we, human beings, change our minds like a girl changes clothes; and – quite often – we aren’t very good at being honest with ourselves.
Bringing home the bacon or a keen interest in pig farming?
Looking for another job is often a matter of practicalities and honesty has very little to do with it. Job Searching 101 dictates you define the parameters of your search: where (geographically) would you like to work? How much do you want/need to earn? Who are your preferred employers? What job titles are you after? So on and so forth.
These are all fair and important questions. Most often, however, I have found clients forget to answer one of the most important ones: Do you want a job or a career?
The difference between the two, as the sub header suggests, is the difference between the need for as bacon a staple food and the interest in pig farming: a job is usually a means to an end. We have bills to pay, we want to live our chosen lifestyle; ergo, we ought to earn the right salary to support that. To use a more trite metaphor: we know what the destination is, let’s just get there.
A career, however, is more deeply rooted in one’s personal interests and capability. It is about learning more and doing more, progressing up a ladder. Yes, there may be a monetary gratification element that sweetens the pot, but it’s about journey rather than the destination.
There are more than 50 shades in this rainbow
Just as important as it is to acknowledge both sides of this coin, it is important there is a plethora of colours in between. You can be interested in having a journey and progressing up a ladder, but it could just be the case that right now, it’s more about paying the bills.
It could even be the case that the part of yourself you wish to progress and advance is unlikely to pay enough, so the balance between the two need to reflect that (and – quite possibly – allow you the room to invest in your extra curricular activities).
It’s not an easy pill to swallow, and many a client I’ve worked with have battled with this question. I cannot stress, however, how important it is to have an honest conversation with a friend, a colleague, a coach or even yourself to better understand your preferences and circumstances.
Understanding where those are will help you determine your Job/Career balance. And be it if you are looking for a new job or simply are dissatisfied with your current one, you will find that this conversation is a great place to start.
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Photo credit to Marzie, via sxc.hu .