Monday, April 18, 2011

The Secret to Achieving a Happy Working Life: Part 2

Last week I introduced the topic of personality, or “wiring” as I call it, and how it essentially determines two things: 1) what you are good at, and 2) who you work best with.

I have already shown that knowing how you’re wired, and choosing jobs accordingly, is vital if you’re going to avoid bouncing from one job to another, never doing what you’re good at, or what you truly enjoy.

Understanding your wiring can help you end up in the right place. (It took Colonel Sanders of KFC fame half a lifetime to figure this out!) But ending up in the right place is only one side of the coin. There’s another major benefit that comes with knowing how you’re wired -- ending up with the right people.

The fact is that our personality plays a huge part in determining not only what we enjoy and do well, but who we work best with. Sure, we can adjust here and there, but there are tangible reasons we get on well with certain types of people.

If you stop to look at what kinds of people your closest friends are -- the people you get on with best -- you’ll probably notice that, while they’re unique individuals, they share a certain core that makes compatibility with you very easy.

I want to put it to you that the same dynamic applies to your professional life. There are probably bosses or colleagues you really enjoy being around and working with. But there are others who you don’t enjoy working with -- you can’t quite put your finger on it but something is off.

The result is that your work life feels heavy and laboured, you come home each day feeling frustrated and every week is a countdown to Friday. If this sounds familiar you may well have an issue with incompatible wiring.

Many people apply for jobs even though they know instinctively that they’ll be surrounded by people who are wired very differently from themselves, but they think that somehow things will just work out. Let me tell you, if the wiring is off, it won’t work out.

A large percentage of the clients I work with have come (or are quickly coming to) the conclusion that their wiring means they are a bad fit for the job they’re in. This explains why their work relationships haven’t been good. It explains why they’ve felt under-appreciated, and exhausted by a job that has become a daily grind.

I say instead of wandering into the wrong jobs again and again, why not seek out workplaces where you do have compatible wiring? Why not follow your instincts, and steer clear of jobs that will land you in working environments that won’t suit your personality traits and strengths?

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But I always find it ironic that so many people complete a personality test, nod and say, “Yup, that’s me all right -- that describes me to a tee”, and then do nothing about it. Very few people take it to the next level and resolve to consider only those jobs where their wiring is a fit. … Please do me a favour by not being one of those people.

If you’ve never done a personality test before my challenge to you is to complete an online test today. Do it on your lunch break, after work, or before you go to bed. Get to grips with your own personality, then get to grips with the kind of work and people that are compatible with you.

Because knowing how you’re wired, and factoring that into your search so that you’re able to find a good fit is the first big step to achieving a happy working life.

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