I was told matter of factly this week that “the more I get paid, the more happiness my employer is entitled to take from me”.
This got me thinking, how many of you actually feel like this after accepting a big promotion or step up? Do you believe the more you're paid, the more stress and unhappiness you'll be exposed to?
Growth In Your Career ≠ Growth In Your Stress
I've shared my personal career journey where I took a significant pay cut to switch careers. This wasn’t something that was easy. It actually meant I had to sacrifice on quite a bit financially but you know what?... I was HAPPY.
What sacrifices I hear you ask? Well, not only did my financial situation shift a lot, I had to sacrifice my time to study a Masters In HR and I couldn’t hang with my family and friends as much. But I was so energised and determined to get my career on a path I believed in and I had to keep reminding myself that these sacrifices were only short term. Best of all, I loved Mondays again because I was so energised and pumped for a new week in a career where deep down I knew I belong.
The beauty of all this was that I began to feel successful again. I was in control and following my #ownyourcareer mantra.
SUCCESS FEEDS OFF HAPPINESS
The people around me began to see how happy I was. The enthusiasm for my new role began to opened up doors for me and within 6 months I was receiving recognition from my managers and peers, I was receiving company awards and was offered and encouraged to apply for more senior roles.
My happiness led me to success, and as a secondary result more money!
It’s a fact that the more money you make in corporate world often means a higher expectation of the employer to perform. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this notion. What I am encouraging you to think about is, how much of this extra responsibility is energising you? The pressure you're facing should also be getting you excited to face the challenges rather than feel miserable, stressed and at a loss.
We’ve been conditioned to think that the more money you earn, the more successful you must be. I once believed this but now I use a different measure – my level of happiness.
I used to measure my success by the number of promotions and pay rises I got. Now it is based on performing meaningful and fulfilling work.
Too many people are staying in jobs that they don’t like for the money and are miserable doing it.
I want to emphasise that working in a job that you love will instantly reduce the bad stress you place on yourself. I get that not everything that interests you can be turned into a career. I’m talking about striking a balance. So I encourage you to chase your dream career with your dream employer. And before you give me a reason that you can’t, here is my retort to your reasons:
Money always seems to be the big fat blocker. Us humans aren’t wired to enjoy going backwards. Moving forward is an integral part of what makes us function and this applies to money, finances and livelihood. But let’s flip that mindset. Let’s aim for your happiness to be the metric of your success. If your happiness, your job satisfaction, the feeling of being fulfilled in your career goes upwards then success will follow. I fully understand that as you get older you are more likely to be tied into larger financial commitments such as a mortgage, carer costs and school fees, and this makes a career change seem all the more risky. So there may be the sacrifice of some of your favourite indulgences in the short term and take the time to budget.
Risk. Take smaller steps towards your dream career. So for example, a lot of workplaces encourage you to work in different teams or functions of their business. Why not ask how you can transfer to the team that you want to work in? In quite a few cases I’ve seen employers help by ensuring you won’t have to go backwards in pay. Your sacrifice is that you may not be in line for a pay rise for that year, but a small sacrifice to getting your career on track. My point is that it’s never too late to start exploring potential options.
Age. You’re never too old to have a career change and start something you love doing. Colonel Sanders opened his first KFC in his 60’s. Before that he worked in insurance, with steam engines and as a service station attendant. If you have the fire in your belly then age doesn’t matter. So start that little online shop you’ve been meaning to or do that bookkeeping course on the weekends. Age is not a barrier.
Fear of change is a legitimate thing. The uncertainty, unknown and what ifs can get to the best of us. I get it – a career change can be scary. Determine what the basis of your fear is. Fear, pride, family opinion… name it, face it and talk to people about it. Once you discover what the source of your fear is, you can take action to alleviate it.
"Whatever your fear is, you will be amazed by the support you will get when you do decide to change."
Friends, family, whoever it is, will want you to succeed and will help if you ask. But you will find some people who won’t understand why you want a career change. Don’t worry about what they think, it’s not for them to understand. Only worry about what you think, it’s your life, your decision and if you really want it to work then you will put the effort in to make it work.
Ask yourself this - what is the worst thing that can happen? If you give this some sensible thought, you will probably realise that the worst isn’t as bad as you think.
I also recommend for you to do your research. Ask your network about certain companies or industries you’re interested in. Talk to recruiters to get sense of the job market, what are the challenges are your targeted employers facing, where can you slot in.
"Use fear as motivation to succeed."
When I changed careers all those years ago I never thought my life would look like it does today. Starting a careers blog and coaching business is the next evolution to my journey and who knows what I’ll be doing in the future.
In my time coaching and helping individuals find career direction I stop to ask myself, what’s my measure of success? Well happiness of course! It’s not about clicking your red heels together, closing your eyes and dreaming of your destination - I wish! Instead it’s about a bit of soul-searching on what you really want out of life, planning well and speaking with your support network – perhaps we need a chat?
If money truly makes you happy, then bravo to you. But if you’re making more money and you’re not getting any happier, well something needs to be done. Otherwise you could completely stress out, burn out and hurt your mental health. Life is short, do something you love!
So, what’s your measure of success at the moment? Money or Happiness.
To start today jump into The Free Resources Library for some darn good workbooks, templates, worksheets to get your career on track. Then if you really want to learn what your career path should be and how you can make your dream career a reality, check out my Dream Career Planner course.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ruby coaches career minded individuals who are on a quest to find their dream role and build a career around it. With 8 years experience in the HR an Recruiting industry Ruby is set to help you create a career that brings fulfillment, success and a happiness. She leads an active social community on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. When she's not working, she's goofing around with her one year old son and is always up for a coffee or two!