Pending one’s outlook, I may have been perceived as having a ‘thriving career’. I ticked many of those boxes that traditionally implied success; I was a qualified accountant, working for an internationally recognised company, being relatively well compensated, with ample opportunities to travel and a visible career ladder to take me to the highest rank.
Although I did this work for the best part of 10 years, to describe it as my ‘career’ sounded far-removed. Implausible even. For me, I was doing a ‘job’ where I counted the hours down and lived for the weekend. The reality was there was no sense of personal achievement in the work I was doing and I was facing complete burn-out. The only motivating factors keeping me ticking over was the fear of failure, my regular performance reviews and paying the rent.
Rather than thriving, I was drowning in my so-called career. After eight years I left to pursue something I felt was much more aligned to and that played to my strengths and personal interests. I opted for a career in the food industry rather than numbers. Fortunately, I have been reaping the benefits ever since.
My new-found prosperity is not tangible – it is not about money, power or any other conventional measures of success. I don’t carry letters after my name. The career ladder is there but is not clearly laid out for me. I don’t really know what my next step will be. But on a Friday evening when I can barely keep my eyes open after a busy week, I am fulfilled. The week has gone so quickly. I feel accomplished and am ready for rest. The so-called Sunday fear is no more. My personal well-being is in check. Simply put, I am happy.
A few years to mature, coupled with my experience on both sides of the fence has afforded me some insight into why people thrive, flourish and succeed in their careers. So why is it now that I feel a genuine sense of thriving in a ‘job’ I’m proud to be building my career around?
- I fundamentally care about the outcome of the work I do. Whether your goal is win a new client, invent a new recipe, sell a car, cure a patient, be genuinely interested in the work required to reach this goal!
- I believe in the cause and stay true to my personal values. For example, despite my love of the food industry I can’t ever see myself working for a multinational corporation that markets sugary breakfast cereals to children.
- I have an opportunity to meet and work with like-minded people.
- I can look fearlessly into the future 30, 40 or even 50 years down the line and be content in the knowledge that I might still be doing this work.
- I embrace downtime and make an effort to strike a work-life balance. The issue of doing what you love is that it can be difficult to switch off or say no!
- I am continuously faced with new challenges and am learning new things. Personal development and growth is key to career longevity and enjoyment.
- I’m setting measurable goals and targets on a weekly, monthly and annual basis.
I’ve learnt that thriving in your life’s work isn’t rocket science. It seems to be about finding a career path where these factors above marry with your true passions, interests and personal strengths. When you find it, I believe you are onto a winning combination of enjoying a fulfilling and prosperous career.
The guest author of this post, Catherine Allen, works in a Sales & Marketing role with Feast Catering & Events. Catherine also freelances as a food demonstrator, food writer and tour guide.