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In Search of Professional Happiness

Original Spanish version published in  America Economia (Latin America) on October 23, 2017

Do you wake up every morning wishing with all your might for it to be Saturday already? Are you one of those people who anxiously wait for Friday? This is probably a sign that something is not right at work. Maybe you think it is normal, because work is not usually associated with happiness, but in fact, work is a very important component of our happiness and satisfaction as adults.

Nonetheless, many people go through their professional lives with no clear aim, without a plan for what they want to do with their career, and end up trapped in a job they do not like. Many are caught up in the first jobs that come their way, without asking themselves or visualizing what they really want to do, what they are passionate about, and what they are good at. As a result, they often end up doing things that do not fully satisfy them.

What is the ideal? For me, it is what a professor of mine at NYU said: that he could not believe that he was paid to do a job he loved so much. How he described his job forever changed my outlook on work. I think it is a paradigm to which we all can and should aspire: to really enjoy the work we do; to work gladly, and hopefully, with passion. That is what I understand by being truly loyal to oneself: to play our own game, be 100 percent on our side, focused on working in what we like to do, in what we are passionate about, and in which we hopefully are skilled. And of course, always staying true to our principles and values. I believe that is the foundation of professional happiness.

But it is important to note that being loyal to oneself does not mean that we be disloyal to the organization that hires our services. On the contrary. If we do something we like and in which we are skilled, we will meet our objectives and goals with greater ease and pleasure. That will make us efficient and productive. It also creates a virtuous circle: we get more involved because we are passionate, and by getting more involved, we do it better.

Many of the candidates that come to the outplacement program do not know what they really want from their professional lives. Our focus is to help them not only plan their repositioning –or the launching of their own business– but also assess their careers and redirect them, often onto a new path. Therefore, as part of the process, they sit down to answer the following questions and think about the answers: What do I want to do?  What do I really like doing? How far do I want to go? What am I good at? Upon reflecting on the answers to these questions, seven out of ten of them decide to change to another field. According to LHH DBM Peru statistics, from January to July of 2017, 72 percent of the executives and professionals we repositioned took the leap and did in fact change fields!

So, it may already be time to define our personal goals and focus bravely on what we really want to achieve in our careers –after really understanding what we are passionate about and combining it with our talents, values, and natural abilities.

For ourselves, it is important to not stop looking for that job that gives us real satisfaction at the end of each day, and dare to finally be completely true to ourselves, and not waste any more time!

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