Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keys to Career Satisfaction & Success

When an individual is unhappy in their job, a common first reaction is something like "I need to do something else, go back to school, start another career". In my experience, this is the last move one should make before taking such a step as moving into a new direction.

There are many factors that contribute to career satisfaction and success. In this post, I want to share with you the key factors that I have come to realize through my own journey. If you are unhappy in your job, I encourage you to look at each one in depth and find out where your dissatisfaction lies before you make major changes. In addition, I invite you to share your experiences and lessons learned as well so that we all may learn and grow through each others experiences.

As I have come to understand it, the factors that contribute to satisfaction and success can we summed under the groupings listed here. Let's look at these and then I'll go a bit deeper into each one. They are:

1. Why
2. How
3. What
4. Where
5. Type

  • Is the work you're doing aligned with your values, beliefs, mission, and your life's purpose?
  • Are your intrinsic motivations being satisfied?

We each have a unique energy and when our work is aligned with our natural inherent strengths, our natural talents and abilities, we find "flow" in our work. For example, some are reserved while others are outgoing, and some are more task focused while others are more people focused. So say we put a very reserved in a role that required very outgoing personality, it leads to tension and on one wins.


Every organization can be divided into some common areas. Major ones include:
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Operations
  • Customer relations
  • Sales/marketing
  • Customer service
  • Accounting
  • Human resources
  • IT
  • Research
Are you working in an area that is aligned with who you are?


In my experience, when there is dissatisfaction, assuming you are in the right role for you, this is the area where majority of dissatisfaction arises from. Let's look at these.
  • Are your values aligned with the values of your organization?
  • Do you have confidence and trust in your management and your colleagues?
  • Do you feel respected, recognized and rewarded?
  • Are you satisfied with your role and that it's a good fit?
  • Are you given opportunities for personal growth and development?
  • Do you take pride in your organization?

There are 4 types of businesses and each of have their own unique cultures and ways of working. Which type most resonates with you?
  • Low Cost: Aim is to be the low cost provider of products and services. Given tight margins, they must be operationally efficient and that's where their focus is.
  • Product Innovation: Aim is to stay ahead of the curve in-terms of new product development and therefore they tend to be more entrepreneurial.
  • Product Quality: Aim is to continuously improve the quality of it's products rather then develop new ones as in product innovation.
  • Service: Aim is to provide the best possible service, both to internal and external customers.
These are the key factors in my experience. Of course, it can be difficult to find a situation where one gets all of these matched perfectly. However the greater number of these you can match, the more satisfied you are likely to be. And the more satisfied you are, the more you will put into your work which then leads to both career success for you AND business success for your employer.

Therefore, before you embark on any major changes, review first each of these factors to find the source of your dissatisfaction and then see where you can work to make improvements that will contribute to overall increased satisfaction for you. If you are considering potential careers, give each of there factors careful consideration for in the end, it's not just what you do but also about the many factors that are presented above.

I wish you the very best on your journey!


Tony Rossell said...

Vinay -- This is an excellent post. I plan to share it with friends and family who have career questions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Tony

Vinay Kumar said...

Thanks Tony, as always. This coming from you means a lot to me for I know how very thoughtful you are.

This post is a result of my 2-1/2 year journey and the very important life's lessons I have learned along the way.

My hope is it will help others as they contemplate major changes in their lives.

Hilary Burton said...

I actually know that this post hits close to home as this is EXACTLY what I experienced after coming home from Nepal. Vinay thanks again for helping me to realize what I was looking for instead of changing my career or going back to school. I'm TOTALLY happy right now :) Hugs to you!!!!

Denise said...

Vinay, Thank you for mentioning how long your journey has been. I, too, have been on a similar journey since '07 or '08 (time goes by way too fast). I became discouraged along the way because I felt this process was taking too long. I will admit that I remain frustrated, but now I'm frustrated because making a career change in this economy is extremely difficult.

I have learned that recruiters and HR folks don't read resumes anymore. Resumes are dumped into a database so recruiters can search for candidates by key word. That means practically re-writing your resume for every position of interest.

I no longer bother to apply for positions that I am interested in unless I know someone who can hand my resume to a person.

And, I've given up on Although there are a lot of interesting positions available, I simply do not have 3-4 hours to spend on applying for each position that I'm interested in.

Lessons I've learned. Hope they help you, too. Anyone is welcome to email me if you'd like to chat:


Vinay Kumar said...

Hi Denise,

Thanks for candidly sharing your situation.

At times like this, association membership and active participation, networking, etc. becomes even more important.

While I can understand and relate to what you're going through and your feelings of frustration, please don't give up.

If you like to chat, feel fee to email/call and we'll fix up a time to speak.

C: 703-851-9466