Is the role you are in now the product of a well thought-out career plan or did you arrive at your current position through happenstance? Have you ever given conscious thought to what you would most like to do? If you could magically wake up on Monday and be doing something else, would you? What would that something else be?
These are the questions our clients often explore with us during our coaching engagements. When someone approaches Novateur for career coaching, we initially ask “how satisfied are you with your current role? On a scale of 0-10 where zero is ‘I hate my job so much that I am going to quit as soon as we are through with this conversation’ and ten is ‘I love my job so much that I jump out of bed each morning and skip all the way to work,’ on average, what is your current satisfaction level?”
Most of the people I talk with say that they are somewhere between a 5 and 7, but you’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at the number who say that their satisfaction level is a 2 or 3 on that 0-10 scale. When you were in school, was a score of 5 out of 10 or 70 out of 100 acceptable? No, I didn’t think so. In fact, I bet that any grade less than an 80% was disappointing. That’s a “B” and anything less is “average,” “below average” or “failing.”
Given that we spend the bulk of our waking lives at work, why should any of us settle for average or below average satisfaction? We work 5, 6 or even 7 days each week and put in 8, 10 and sometimes 12 hour days. We check email constantly and worry about projects, deadlines and expectations. If we are going to give so much of ourselves to our careers, shouldn’t we be striving for an “A” or a “B” at work?
I believe that those of us who have the education and the financial means to choose our work have an obligation to consciously choose to be engaged in work that is satisfying at an “8” or above. When work is satisfying, we make a greater contribution, we feel more fulfilled and we have more energy left at the end of the day for the rest of our lives. When we are satisfied in our careers, we can bring more of ourselves to work, to our families and to everything we do.
When I was younger, I often heard people say that they loved their jobs and I thought they were full of it. At that point, I had not held a full-time job that I loved and did not believe that it was possible to have a satisfying career. As I got older (and wiser) I realized that it is indeed possible to have a career that satisfies me, and as a coach, I know that it is possible for you too. While no job or role is perfect, it is possible to find a career that regularly brings you satisfaction at an 8 (or better) out of 10 on the scale.
While some people find their ideal career path without a plan, for most of us, a concrete plan is required. We need to look at our values, our goals, our strengths, our skills, our passions and our natural abilities. And we do all that in the course of a career coaching engagement. We also spend time considering the practical aspects of finding work that you love – from finances to roadmaps. Once you figure out what you want to do, how do you get from where you are now to that new role?
I challenge you to consider your own current level of career satisfaction. If you find that you are working in a role that does not satisfy you, I encourage you to consider consciously creating your next chapter. Being pro-active about your career path is a bold step. I hope you will act boldly and accept the challenge!
We would love to hear from those of you who have already taken the bold steps toward consciously creating a more satisfying career. Tell us your stories of transition and how you made the changes to live a more satisfying life.