Finding a new job can be an arduous process, especially if you’re searching for a position that enables boundless joy.
That said, it is entirely possible to find a role that brings you happiness. You just need a little self-exploration and self-awareness first.
Look for a Job That Matches Your Values
Can you quickly rattle off your top 5-10 values? I would venture to say probably not. Yet your values are critical when it comes to making decisions in your career.
Most people don’t clearly understand their own values. Maybe you have never slowed down to consider yours. Perhaps you took a survey long ago to try to figure it out, but you’ve since forgotten the results. Maybe you just never made it a habit to consider your values when making decisions.
Whatever the case may be, when you don’t make decisions based on your values, you live a rudderless life. No job will ever come close to being meaningful.
So, how do you figure out your values? I like to use a values sort exercise. It typically takes about 1-2 hours to complete, but that is time well spent in the long run.
Then what? How do you use your values to inform your job search?
Let’s use an example. Meet Patty. Her values are growth, appreciation, community, responsiveness, and autonomy. With those values, which opportunity do you think would be a better fit for her?
When looking at the two opportunities side by side, Opportunity 2 looks like a great fit for Patty. It taps into her growth, appreciation, community, and autonomy values.
Your values inform every decision you make in life. When you make choices in alignment with your values, those choices are more likely to bring you joy.
Know Your Most Joyous Strengths, and Find a Job That Uses Them Often
When we use our strengths daily, we feel an elevated sense of motivation and vitality. We are more likely to reach our goals, and we have a stronger sense of direction in life. And while we spend roughly a third of our lives working, only 51 percent of us utilize our strengths once a week, according to Marcus Buckingham’s Go Put Your Strengths to Work.
It is time for that statistic to change.
A quick way to identify your most joyous strengths is to ask yourself three questions:
1. Which Strengths Invigorate Me?
Pay attention to those times when you feel like you are in your groove. The task feels effortless and fun; time flies by. Examine the strengths you use to complete those tasks. They may be some of your most joyous strengths.
2. What Contexts Do I Enjoy Most?
It turns out the context matters. A lot. The same strengths that bring you joy in one context may do little for your happiness in another. Interacting with people as a supervisor is very different from interacting with people in a customer service role. Pay attention to the environments that bring you the most joy.
3. Does Your Work Provide Meaning for You?
A meaningful job provides a deep sense of purpose and fulfillment. It enables you to feel like you make an impact in the world. Pursue those strengths that speak to your soul.
Seek Joy Beyond Work
If you put all you have into your job, even if it’s a perfect job, you will burn out and become unfulfilled at some point. Instead, find joy outside of work to complement the joy your work brings. Some ways to do that:
- Find a Hobby: We all need more fun. It’s critical to escape from the demands and stressors of work every now and then.
- Get Physical: Stress is a silent killer. You and I both know it. Without your health, a fulfilling job can do nothing for you. Start (or keep) prioritizing sleep and exercise.
- Prioritize Joy-Inducing Relationships: The Harvard Study of Adult Development found that relationships increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness, reduce stress, improve self-confidence, and help you cope with adversity.
Finding a job that leads to happiness requires you to think and act differently than most of the workforce. Take the time to understand your core values and how to make decisions based on them. Look for a job that enables the best part of your job to be the biggest part of your job. Prioritize your life outside of work.
If you do these things, I am confident the job you select will bring you joy, success, and fulfillment.