I worked in the corporate world for several years at the largest drug company in the world, Pfizer, and really enjoyed my time at the top level. But it was not until I left that I discovered the secret to happiness at work.
It is because after I left that I discovered secrets of personal growth that had not been ‘tainted’ by corporatized language and complicated jargon. In some cases, simple truths that were easily communicated to the average man on the street were far more resonant and convincing than principles that were convoluted to fit corporate mission statements.
After completing Dr John Demartini’s values-based exercises from his Values E-book, I learnt that my job role must align to my personal values for me to be most satisfied with my work. And so after completing the Demartini survey and identifying my top twelve personal values, I understood that my career had to be aligned with these values as closely as possible.
That’s the first truth of career happiness.
The second truth involves Marcus Buckingham, one of the co-creators of the Gallup Survey. The Gallup Survey is a leading employee engagement audit used by major corporations around the world to build strong company cultures. Buckingham’s book “First, break all the rules” illustrates that we all have particular skills that are unique to us, which he labels ‘Strengths’ or ‘True Strengths’.
In simplistic terms, ‘strengths’ are skills that we are good at, such as negotiating deals, repairing broken things, multitasking family chores or analysing financial information. However, when we perform tasks using these skills, we become tired; they drain our energy and we do not feel very satisfied afterward.
‘True Strengths’ are skills that we are naturally very good at and when we utilise them we feel energised. We experience a sense of being “in the zone” and we lose sense of time. We can perform these tasks for hours and we generally don’t feel tired afterward, in fact we feel a sense of accomplishment.
In his book, ‘First Break All the Rules’, Buckingham suggests that if you can get 80% of your job to involve your True Strengths, you will be fantastic at your job. After learning these principles, I discovered my True Strengths to be creative writing and presenting, so when I am writing articles, documents or creating presentations, I completely lose track of time and have the greatest degree of energy.
This is also probably why I did not get the greatest degree of satisfaction when I was in clinical medicine, as my work at the time did not tap into my True Strengths of generating new ideas and creative communication.
So, ask yourself – what are YOUR TRUE STRENGTHS? Can you BRING THEM TO WORK MORE? Are you able to delegate what you don’t really enjoy to others that have those skills?
It was from answering these questions that I discovered the secret formula for true enjoyment and higher energy at work. I call it ‘The Secret of Career Happiness’, and it is when your job role is aligned to your True Strengths and your Personal Values.
It’s a simple prescription for work-life balance and getting the best energy, fulfilment and job satisfaction out of your career pursuits. It is also a great philosophy for organisations to collaboratively get the most out value from their workforce.
The Secret of Career Happiness
Personal Values + True Strengths = Role Alignment
What’s your Secret to Career Happiness?