I remember a specific moment after college graduation (some 30 years ago) where I was floundering and really believed that other people and other things were responsible for my happiness.and success. I remember the time when I believed if only I lived somewhere else I’d be happy or if only I had another job I’d be happy and successful! I had a million different excuses as to why I felt like I wasn’t progressing in my life the way I should be.
Over and over I’d find myself in this frustrating cycle until I finally realized, it was me, not other people and not different places or jobs or bosses that controlled my happiness and success.
My life and my future were purely within my control, but it required me to do a thorough self-evaluation about what made me tick and about what were the things that really made me happy. While this was a tough conversation with myself it forced me to live my life in a way that focused on my values and following my integrity around the things that were important to me.
I bring this up because I often see job seekers bounce from job to job looking for the ‘perfect’ job thinking that the next position will be the one that controls their happiness at work (or in other parts of their lives). Instead, they find themselves in cycles of the same frustration, anxiety and unhappiness.
When I ask job seekers about their most favorite jobs and about the things that MADE it their favorite jobs, the answers I get are usually aligned with their values: “I trusted the leadership and they trusted me.” “I felt respected.” “It was an ethical company.” “The company’s values and mission were clear and were aligned with the work I was required to perform.” “The company was honest and transparent with its employees.”
When applying for jobs, create a criteria based on YOUR values and YOUR integrity and make sure that your next position is aligned with the things that make you tick. Ask questions about the workplace culture, the leadership of the company and the department you’ll be working with. What makes this a good place to work? Be willing to reject a job offer if the job/company if you are not comfortable with the responses or have a gut feeling the job doesn’t match your criteria.
Ultimately, it will not be a company or a specific boss that will make you happy, but if the job and the company is aligned with your values, beliefs and ethics, you’ll have a much greater chance of work satisfaction.