Monday, April 11, 2011

The Secret to Achieving a Happy Working Life: Part 1

Having a job pays the bills and puts food on the table. But my experience tells me that most people want more than just to be employed.

Most people, deep down, want to be in a job they find satisfying, challenging, and enjoyable. They want to be stretched, to stretch those around them, and to have working relationships that are not just functional but fruitful. They want to go home at night feeling that they’ve made a difference, that their work has been appreciated, and that they actually can’t wait to get back to work tomorrow.

If this doesn’t describe your working life at all my next two posts might just tell you why.

I want to talk to you about the importance of personality, which I also call “wiring.”

-- What do you know about your own personality?
-- Have you ever stopped to think about what kind of person you are?
-- What makes you tick?
-- What energizes you?
-- What deflates you?
-- How you resolve conflict?

Most people have spent at least some time thinking about these things, and many have used personality tests like Myers-Briggs (which I highly recommend by the way) to help them identify what their wiring looks like.

Your wiring essentially determines two things: 1) what you are good at, and 2) who you work best with.

This week I’m dealing with the first of these two sides of the coin (next week’s post will focus on who you work best with).

It’s a fact that thousands of people aren’t in the right job into their thirties and beyond. For example, did you know that Martha Stewart was a stockbroker before she launched her career as a home-making and lifestyle guru? (Hindsight suggests that her subsequent decision to remain in stocks was questionable!) Or that Colonel Sanders was an insurance salesman, steamboat pilot, railroad fireman, and farmer before he found the recipe for success?

People who hop from one unhappy job to another, even one wrong field to another, (Colonel Sanders being one of them!) are probably doing so because they feel unfulfilled in every job they have (or because they fail or get fired as often as they get hired!) These people don’t know how they’re wired and so they keep ending up in jobs and companies that clash with their personalities. Quite frankly it’s no wonder they’re jumping or being pushed if they don’t enjoy the work they’re doing, and/or are simply not good at it.

You need to know how you’re wired and you need to know as early as possible if you’re going to go on to achieve the happy working life you long for.

Do you know what your personality type is? If not, then go do a test now! If you do, which jobs and companies might suit you?

Stop by next week. I’ll be looking into how wiring affects your working relationships and who you work best with.

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