Doing Work You Love

How to choose a career that makes you happy

June 10, 2020

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Prefer to read? The transcript is below 🙂

Hey, it’s Iris and welcome back to my channel!

In today’s video I’m going to give a few practical tips on how to choose the right career – that is: a career that makes you happy – whether you’re just starting out or have 10 or 20 years of experience under your belt. 

Because what I’ve noticed is that so many people are afraid of choosing the wrong career. They worry that they’ll regret it later, or even worse, mess up their whole life. 

So to help you feel more confident about choosing what career is right for you, I’m going to share 2 Don’t and 2 Do’s – the best part? They’re backed by research. 

BUT, before I do that, please like this video if you like it and subscribe to my channel. It really does make a big difference to me, and I’ll be ever so grateful for it. And, obviously it’ll help me grow my channel, plus it tells me exactly what kind of videos you’re in to. 

Alright, let’s start with the things you shouldn’t do. Here are the 2 big fat DON’Ts when it comes to choosing a career. 

DON’T overthink it

Because there’s a good chance you are….Am I right to say that you think you need to know exactly what it is that you’re going to do? 

Yeah? Well, here’s the good news: 

You don’t need to have it all figured out! You don’t need to know exactly what it is that you’re going to do. 

A lot of career experts will tell you to set some time aside to create a clear plan for your career. 

Get clarity on where you want to be in 1, 5 and 10 years from now, and then work your way back from there, with actionable goals for the short, mid and long term.

Whilst that might work for some people, the problem is that a lot of people get stuck doing that. We get overwhelmed and overthink things. 

You don’t need to have or create a 10-year career plan. If you want to know what to do instead, make sure you watch this video in which I share my go-to method to plan your career. 

DON’T pursue money or wealth. 

I think we all know that money alone doesn’t make us happy.

When it comes to work, research has shown us that how much we earn doesn’t make us enjoy what we do more. Money is a so-called hygiene factor: if we don’t get paid fairly, or what we believe we should get paid, we tend to feel unhappy at work. But if we do get paid fairly, or what we believe we should get paid, that doesn’t automatically make us happy, or feel good about work. We tend to just feel neutral, or okay about work. 

Despite this, a lot of people make career choices based on money. We tend to overestimate how happy our salary and other financial metrics will make us. 

So, what should you do? 

A lot of research has been done on what makes us happy at work, and whilst there are different theories, generally speaking it’s taught us that there are a few things that tend to make us all enjoy our work: 

  • Work itself, this is, of course not very surprisingly, the most important factor. Work has to be something you’re interested in, and something that challenges you. No one likes to work in a field that they have zero interest in, or to do work below what they’re capable of doing. 

  • Having a sense of meaning or purpose: this is doing work that either helps other people, or having a feeling that there’s a higher purpose to what you’re doing. It’s that feeling that what you’re doing makes a difference, and matters. 

  • Working with people we like and respect. Most people like to be surrounded by people that they can turn to, whether that’s a respected mentor or someone more senior in the company, or colleagues and peers. Being able to ask for advice and help, and to build meaningful relationships at work is a big deal to most people. 

So, based on that, here are the 2 things you should DO when deciding on a career

DO pick something that you’re interested in

You don’t need to know what your passion is, and follow that (that’s bad advice anyhow, if you’re curious why, watch this video). You don’t need to know what your calling is in life, or what you’re meant to do with your career. 

No, you simply need to find something that stimulates you and something that you’re interested in. 

Struggling to know what that is? There are a few ways to help you figure this out: 

Ask yourself: what kind of things bother you?
What problems or issues in your community, country or maybe even in the world get to you? What problems would you like to help solve, or at least make a contribution to?Helping solve a problem or issue that we care about, or working in a field that does, massively adds to our job satisfaction. It gives us that sense of meaning or purpose, feeling like what we do matters. 

You can also flip this question, and ask yourself what kind of things you care about?
What kind of things do you support, or are an advocate for? It could be green economy, sustainability, living a healthy, active lifestyle, plant-based food, female entrepreneurship… 

Working in a field that we care about can also add that sense of meaning or purpose – something that you now know has been proven to have a direct impact on how much one enjoys their work. 

Finally, another question you could ask yourself is this: …what things can’t you stop reading about? Or talking about? Or watching documentaries about? Or doing? Or listening to podcasts about?

Let just repeat what I said before: you don’t need to what your passion is, what your calling is in life, or what you’re meant to do with your life. Just choose something that you’re interested in. 

Got that? 

Then, DO chat with people who have a career in that field. 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – because it’s SO important!

Turn to your friends and to LinkedIn to find people you can speak with, and ask for 15 minutes of their time to ask them about their work.

Ask them what their day-to-day work is like. Ask them what they enjoy about it, and what the hardest parts are. Ask them what types of people they work with (creatives, brainy, smart people, tech geeks), and what the culture is like in their organisation. Ask what it takes to land a job in that field. Try to get a better understanding of what it is that they do, and notice if you get excited when they talk about it (which is obviously a good sign!).

What you’re trying to do here is understand what kind of jobs or even career paths exist within this field, and get an idea of what you could do or where you could fit in. 

Make sure you chat with at least 3 – 4 people who work in this field. This should give you a good idea of the people that work in that field, or at different organisations in that field, and if they’re the kind of people that you’d like to work with. Remember, that was another important factor that adds to how much you enjoy your work.

So, those were my to DOs. Now, I want to leave you with one final thing…

Realise that most people don’t have a career for life anymore.

The majority of people will change careers 2 or 3 times throughout their life.

So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself by thinking you need to find the ONE thing that you’re meant to do with your career. Who knows, you might end up doing what you’ve picked for the rest of your life, but you don’t need to. Let go of that idea that a career is for life, or that there’s only one right choice. 

There are many potential career paths that could work for you.

All you need to do is get the foundation right: pick something that you find interesting, something that you care about, talk to people who work in that field, and make sure you work with people you like and respect. 

So, that’s what I have for you today. If you liked this video, please please please hit that thumbs up button. Know that those thumbs up really do make a huge difference – especially for someone like me, who’s just started a YouTube channel. So please hit that thumbs up button.

Next week, I’ll be talking about how to stop overthinking your next career move, so if you’d like to know what those are, hit that subscribe button and the bell next to it, and you’ll receive a notification when I publish that video. 

Thank you SO MUCH for watching, I’ll see you again next week. 

FREE Training: Find Your Passion, Make It Your Work

Learn more about my 3-day training that will teach you how to find your passion, and the game-changing (backed-by-science) method to build a meaningful and fulfilling career around it.

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