Career Perspective (2): Finding Satisfaction

Tony loves teaching college students. Every time he is in front of a class and sees that wonderful moment of insight in the eyes of people in the room, he feels, This is what I was made for.

The problem is, he can’t make a living doing this. More colleges are doing on-line courses. They are hiring fewer full-time professors and more part-time adjunct faculty. And even those positions are hard to come by. So he pieces together other jobs to pay the bills.

As I wrote here, so many of us don’t feel fulfilled in our jobs. We feel disappointed in the course our careers have taken. We have all these skills and abilities and they just lie dormant. The problem may be expecting too much from our jobs. Rarely do they allow us to fully express our gifts and abilities. If we have a fifty percent overlap, we are very fortunate indeed.

When I complained to one of my early bosses, Jim Sire, about boring duties I had to attend to, he said, “Every job has scut work. No matter how high you rise, you will always have some routine, menial tasks you just can’t get rid of.” I tried to take that to heart. In a nice way he was saying to me, “Get over yourself.”

What else can we do? Find ways to do what we enjoy, what gives us life and energy, outside of our jobs. I love music and performing. I’ve never found a way to get a salary doing that, however. But I have gotten my fix by being part of a choir or choral group most of my life. No pay, but lots of satisfaction.

I enjoy being creative in a variety of settings. I like trying out new recipes or creating my own, experimenting with different meals. Fortunately, usually the people who eat those meals also enjoy that! I’m not paid as a chef, sous chef, or even a cook. But it’s still very satisfying.

No one pays me to blog. But I do it anyway because I enjoy the creative process of writing and working with ideas.

The more we can align our jobs with our motivated skills, the better. So Tony should not stop looking for that dream job, but in the meantime, he can find other outlets that offer real satisfaction.

Photo credits: Bob Wolniak; Pixabay/naimbic

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.

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