EVENTS & INSIGHTS / INSIGHT

Achieving sustainable career happiness one step at a time

by Shannon Houde

Do you ever find yourself wondering what makes you truly happy, or how big of a role your career happiness plays in your overall joy?

A recent New York Times article identified work as having a strong influence over how happy we are, pointing out, “Work can bring happiness by marrying our passions to our skills, empowering us to create value in our lives and in the lives of others.”

Feeling fulfilled in your job starts with getting in touch with what makes you happy. Once you have identified that, you can start to think about how you can map your career decisions to those criteria.

DON'T MISS OUT
ON MORE FREE TIPS

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign up

Happiness is everywhere

We are in the midst of a global happiness movement, full of books, movies and scientific studies. Just last month, I was invited to present at the 6Heads sustainability shorts film festival, an evening of films and clips that inspire change. I selected the film “HAPPY,” which highlights how defining our top three to five values helps us to make decisions about how we behave and who we spend our time with so that we can live a happier, more purposeful life.

What I love about this movie is that it takes us on a journey outside of the self to help us challenge our core values — it “explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.”

Happiness is not based on material possessions or the wealth generated by local businesses. It’s our connection to ourselves and to others. Real satisfaction and meaning emerge when we recognise our interdependence and what that means in terms of how we treat one another and want to be treated. Creating good work and building healthy communities are not just things we dream about. They are what we must do to realise the happiness available to any of us willing to work for it. 

Start with values, passion, and purpose

It is important to continue challenging ourselves in order to grow professionally, so, as you decide on goals and challenges for next year, think about what makes you happy, personally and professionally, and start mapping your criteria. All you have to do is take out a piece of paper and write down:

1. What are your passions?
2. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
3. What is your bigger purpose in life?
4. What characteristics do you admire in others?
5. What do you like, not love, about yourself?

Once you have a one pager answering the questions above, you will have much more insight into how your current job, boss and company fit with you — the authentic you. If upon reflection you see that where you currently are now is well aligned, then you may want to rethink the “grass is always greener” mentality. However, if the writing is on the walls that your current job is not aligned with at least 50 percent of your values, then it may be time to make a change.

Gross National Happiness over GDP

In 1972 the Dragon King of Bhutan coined a national measurement of happiness like the GNP called the Gross National Happiness. Interestingly, the values that drive sustainability roles are perfectly aligned with the four pillars of the GNH:

• The promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development
• The preservation and promotion of cultural values
• The conservation of the natural environment
• The establishment of good governance

What we learn from Bhutan is that you cannot take for granted that standard measures of growth and prosperity, such as GDP, will be universally meaningful. Likewise, the things you are supposed to be striving for in your career may not bring satisfaction with them.

So, what matters most to you?

Remember, sustainable career happiness is a long-term endeavour. The challenges you face in finding personal satisfaction and meaning within a sustainability job are common ones that can be overcome with mindful, proactive behaviour.

Kick this year off right by being more true to your authentic self. And then go watch 24hoursofhappy.com for some inspirational dancing and music.

This article originally appeared on GreenBiz.com.

Image source: https://www.thehappymovie.com/

comments

You may also like...

recruiting
What the Growing Corporate Sustainability Movement Means for Recruiting Top Talent

It wasn’t that long ago that corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability teams were shoved in back offices, miles from the core operations of a business. Even worse, responsibility for corporate sustainability would sometimes be awkwardly shoved onto an existing role with little care or attention from senior leadership. Now, the picture looks very different. A perfect storm of climate change, COVID, and conscious consumerism has forced all businesses across every sector to reevaluate their actions on social and environmental issues. One survey of

By Shannon Houde
The Big Picture: Sustainable Food And Career Choices

My Big Picture articles focus on making sensible choices in the resource-constrained Anthropocene world in which we live. Some of these articles deal with wonkier topics related to economics and resource usage; some (like the one you are reading now) concern topics related to managing our lives on a day-to-day basis in the Age of Climate Change. Executive Summary The Netflix documentary Seaspiracy offers a sobering look into the fishing industry and echoes many warnings found in the Dasgupta Report. This documentary and

By Shannon Houde
How to Find Your Dream Impact-focused Job

This is an edited extract from Good Work by Shannon Houde. Do you want an impact-focused job role? DON’T MISS OUTON MORE FREE TIPS Sign Up For Our Newsletter Sign up The range of opportunities in the impact space is quite diverse, and it helps to consider what sort of organization and role would be the best fit for you. Note that government is quite different from NGOs, which in turn are different from social enterprises and sustainable businesses. In the

By Shannon Houde
Book Launch! Good Work: How to Build a Career that makes a Difference in the World

Joel Makower interviews Good Work author, Shannon Houde, about the evolving impact economy and how to shape a career that makes a difference. DON’T MISS OUTON MORE FREE TIPS Sign Up For Our Newsletter Sign up

By Shannon Houde

NEED SOME SUPPORT?

Book a 30-minute trial session with Shannon

BOOK A TRIAL