Career Advice for Job Seekers

Do What Feels Right And Pursue Your Passion

William Frierson AvatarWilliam Frierson
March 3, 2014

Happy, successful businessman showing cheer with clenched fists at work

Happy, successful businessman showing cheer with clenched fists at work. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

What makes you feel fulfilled? If you say it’s your job, you are, sadly, part of a small group everyone else rolls their eyes at. A 2013 Gallup poll found that just under 30 percent of employees working in the U.S. and Canada felt engaged at work. And these workers are among the most satisfied of the 180 nations Gallop surveyed!

Do What Feels Right

Why are so many unhappy people at work? What they can do to make it better? Think again about what makes you feel fulfilled. Chances are, it’s a lifelong interest you’ve had since you were a kid. Is it cooking, drawing or fixing things? Messing around on a computer? As a teenager, did you enjoy babysitting, or did you make extra cash taking care of your vacationing neighbors’ pets?

These passions don’t have to be limited to hobbies, but can be channeled into real work. It’s important to understand what pleases you if you are thinking about going back to to school to start a degree or training program. Forbes writers David Skorton and Gene Altschuler note that students who enjoyed their college major were the most satisfied people at work. If you aren’t feeling particularly stimulated by your current profession, consider doing for something that makes you, well, happy. As (old) Mr. Spock told (young) Mr. Spock, “Do what feels right.”

Expand Your Skills into a Profession You Enjoy

While you can certainly dive in headfirst and start applying for jobs in child care or catering, you will probably find that employers like to see some training and education to back up your enthusiasm. Don’t worry. Education has finally caught up to today’s working realities and many schools and colleges offer classes online, at night and even on weekends. In other words, you don’t have to quit working or hire a babysitter to boost your education and skills.

Look for programs that will help you turn your interest into a career. For example, Penn Foster offers a vet tech program perfect for those who love animals and can handle high-stress situations. So if your long-term goal is to become a veterinarian, you can start by becoming a veterinary technician and gain real-world experience in the field.

Career Fulfillment Goes Beyond Earnings

One thing is for sure: people are happy and fulfilled at work when they do what they love. Earning a lot of money does not necessarily make people like their jobs. Another Forbes reporter, Jacquelyn Smith (who looks very happy in her bio photo—coincidence?), found that junior attorneys are the unhappiest people at work in spite of Glassdoor’s finding that many earn well into six figures.

Among the top 10 happy employees identified (based on CareerBliss data) are people who have developed their natural management skills in areas that may sound boring to an outsider—construction superintendents and managers, logistics managers, quality assurance engineers and executive administrative assistants. People with high-tech skills also made it into the top 10 and include application developers and network engineers.

By Robert King

Contributing writer, career consultant

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