Thursday, January 24, 2008

Job Happiness Means Seizing Opportunities

If you were good with numbers when you were in high school, a career guidance counselor or teacher probably steered you toward becoming an accounting major in college. Or, if you showed a flair for working with children, perhaps a counselor recommended a career in teaching.

But you may be discovering as you advance in your career that you have been steered down the wrong path. Sometimes others are so intent on finding what we're "good" at when we're young, that we're pushed towards careers that earn us a paycheck -- but don't really make us happy.

Instead, a lifetime of job happiness may be better gained through staying curious, seizing opportunities -- and some old fashioned luck.

Luck? Well, you'd be surprised at the number of people I've spoken who say that their success is really just a fluke. They say that they sort of lucked into their situation because they were just going with the flow, and were able to take action on unexpected events and create an opportunity.

Here are some skills that many successful people identify as helping them be successful:

1. Curiosity. Children are very curious. They are always asking how and why. But once you reach junior high and high school, the questions start being about "what are you going to do? What are you going to study in college?" If more people stayed focus on the childlike “why” and “how,” they might find greater career success. Perhaps the question young people should be asked is: "What would you like to try next?"

2. Optimism. People that create opportunities for themselves and expect good things to happen usually fair much better.

3. Persistence. There's no need to bang your head against a wall, but give something enough of a shot to see if it will work.

4. Flexibility. Be willing to change.

5. Take risks. Don't try and be overcontolling, focusing like a laser beam on a specific target. This can limit your options. Explore your opportunities, make mistakes, and open yourself up to different opportunities.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for this encouraging post! I'm a recent "Grad School" grad, looking for work. Why and how are some of my favorite questions, but I haven't quite learned how to put them to use yet. Thanks again!

Anita said...

I think as long as you remain open to being a lifelong learner, then you will be much happier in both your professional and personal life. Good luck!