Today’s post is another in our “Recruiter Insights” series. This guest post is by Pete Lawson, Recruiter, SuccessFactors‘ Recruiting Team.
I am a recruiter. And as a recruiter, when attending any social event and introducing myself to a stranger, I often times find myself playing “therapist” to that stranger’s current work situation.
It’s quite humorous really; after a couple exchanges in dialogue, most people feel comfortable enough to begin their monologue of dissatisfaction with their employer, co-workers, benefits, pay, commute or just the job itself. Sometimes I look at my watch to see how long it takes someone to spill their guts after I introduce myself and see that little twinkle in their eye. My record is 23 seconds by the way.
Their eyes light up when there is a glimmer of a hope that I may be their ticket out of their toxic work situation. It’s a good thing I love what I do. I really enjoy giving my two cents to any stranger looking for advice.
I recently attended a party where I was involved in quite a few conversations filled with interesting dialogue around what makes a job so horrible. My takeaway from all of these conversations is that people never really stopped to ask themselves, “what do I love and how do I do that?”
It is a very simple question that is often overlooked. When jobseekers are thinking about their next career move and wondering what the next steps are, I find that a lot of people do not have “love what I do” on their top three or even their top five list.
The top three are usually 1) money and benefits, 2) room for growth, and, 3) product. To me, the number one spot on the list should be focused on what gets you out of bed every day with a spring in your step and a smile on your face (as corny as that may sound). Don’t get me wrong, I still think the other three should be on the top five list but I feel if you move “love what you do” to number one spot, the rest will fall into place.
Sure, every job is going to have its ups and downs but I am talking about waking up every day and loving what you do. We constantly ask ourselves “what makes us happy?” in our personal lives so why can we not apply that thought process to our career soul searching? When we determine how we are going to spend our personal time outside of work or on the weekends, we make choices around what we enjoy or love.
We go for a bike ride because it is enjoyable. We go to a football game because it is fun. We take our kids to go see some fireworks because we love it! Why would we not take a similar strategy when deciding how we are going to spend a majority of our waking hours away from our family and friends?
I did a little math and the average person spends approximately 23% of their life working. That’s 92,000 hours of your life! Looking back, I don’t know anyone that would want to say that 23% of their life was spent doing something they did not enjoy.
When I have a friend that is in a job that they do not love and I ask them why they still do it, almost every time the two answers I most often get are: “I just feel stuck- there are not a ton of options out there,” or “…economy is tough, I think I should stick it out. The job sucks but the benefits are ok.” It’s at this point that I usually give this friend the stink-eye and call BS on their answer. This is the easy answer, the lazy answer. The real answer should be:
“Well, I just haven’t even taken the time to see what else is out there and found the time to ask myself what I would love to do and I just find it easier to settle with a job I do not like and just complain about it constantly.”
Ok, maybe not in those exact words, but you get the picture. Too many times, we get stuck in a constant routine and find it less complicated to interrupt that routine even if your happiness is at stake.
Here are some basic questions to ask yourself when doing some career soul searching to help determine what actions you need to take to Love Work Again:
1. Am I happy with my career choice?
Whether the answer is yes or no, you should make a list of reasons why you love or hate your job.
2. Is it the job I don’t like or the company I work for?
After making your list in question #1, it should not take you long to figure out what you like or do not like about your current situation. You may dig deep and realize that you actually love what you do but it is masked by a work environment or company that is not for you or vise-verse.
3. Are there actions I can take with my current company that will improve my “Happiness Meter?”
After asking yourself this question, you might find that you love the company you work for but just do not enjoy the position you are in. Explore your options within the company and leverage relationships internally to get you where you want to be. If there are no open opportunities but there is a particular department that you have interest in, schedule a informational meeting with the manager and speak to people within the department. This will help you determine how this manager might be to work for and what the department is like.
4. What is the ideal company and career for me?
Here is where the Love comes in. Take the time to actually ask yourself, “What type of company do I believe in?” What products or offerings do they have that you find interesting, inspirational and valuable? Where do you see yourself within that organization? Here is where a lot of people get hung up.
Whether you are fresh out of college or have been on a career path for a number of years, you most likely think that you can only fit into certain job descriptions within an organization. Wrong. Think outside the box, what traits or experiences can you bring to the table that will be beneficial in the role you see yourself in? When you determine that, work on your pitch on why you would be the best fit for that role. Take that pitch into action and put yourself in front of the right person/people and sell it.
5. Am I willing to make time and take action to Love Work Again?
It’s not an easy task. You really need to dig deep and determine what changes need to take place to make this happen. For the most part, people do not like change. It can interrupt our momentum and cause us to do things differently. I have always felt that this can be a good thing- especially if you are in a bad situation. Change what you don’t like by putting to action what you love.
These questions are really just the tip of the iceberg in figuring out what really drives you. These questions have always acted as a good catalyst for me when assessing my current situation. I have always felt that if I Love what I do, then the other things that seem to matter so much will not.
It’s amazing how many things will lose their place at the top of your priority list when you surround yourself with a positive environment. Once you experience that Loving what you do only encourages optimism in all aspects of your life, you will never look back. If you are doing something that really matters to you, you will be driven to perform at a high level and give everything you got into it. Not to mention, you will be a positive influence to those around you both inside and outside of work.
In close, one of my most favorite quotes by Steve Jobs really sums up my thoughts around this subject completely:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
In other words: Do what you love and you will love what you do.
Pete Lawson is a Recruiter at SuccessFactors, an SAP Company. In this role, Lawson is responsible for finding awesome people globally in the areas of Sales, Solution Consulting, Sales Ops, Professional Services, IT, HR, G&A, Accounting and Finance. Lawson has been in the sales and recruiting business for the past 8 years. Prior to SuccessFactors, Lawson served as a Division Director at Robert Half International where he was responsible for the staffing operations of the Contracted employees division within the Boston market. Outside of recruiting, Lawson enjoys spending every spare second with his wife Laurie and 2 year old daughter Addy Lou.
Want to love work again?
Search all our open SuccessFactors positions worldwide: http://jobs.successfactors.com
Learn more about the workplace culture at SuccessFactors, an SAP Company, see pics of our offices, talk to recruiters, and get real time job openings by connecting with us on our social pages:
Linkedin Group: SuccessFactors Careers