If I get a good paying job while taking on a challenge that interests me outside of work? Is it OK? Would I be happy?
Exploring Career Options
As I encourage students and young clients to consider challenges related to a cause or a concern of interest when exploring career direction, this question often comes up.
I always appreciate this question and other similar ones that reveal that clients do not take what I share for granted. Questioning what others share is a very valuable technique for them to move forward confidently.
I usually handle these questions by inviting clients to take on their questions as one of their weekly tasks. Such questions are best responded by the one asking the question. I encourage them to reflect and come back to me with a well thought out response.
Are YOU Happy?
The reality is that I have worked with clients who are perfectly content to put in the effort for a job they partially enjoy because the pay is good. They rush after work to eat dinner and start working on a hobby or interest where they lose track of time.
From this perspective and particularly for young people who are typically still in the exploration stage, the answer to the question is, “Yeah, sure. It is completely OK”.
Nonetheless, there are situations where it is not and should not be acceptable for you to be working in a job that does not match your interests or leads to frustration and or stress. If you are not be “happy” nor do you feel good about going to work every day, then more exploration is needed to better understand how do you define “happy” at work.
Would I be happy?
Choose YOUR Challenge
Adopting the Challenge Mindset (see TED Talk by JP Michel) has been shown to help young people find purpose and ways to impact the world. Such mindset empowers them to seek and find employment in a field they enjoy. More importantly, it gives them the confidence to put in the effort and move forward in productive ways. They will typically believe that they have the power to influence others or to change the status quo and they will value the projects they take on.
This is the reason I encourage you to build awareness of your interests, understand challenges within a field of your interest, and seek opportunities to be involved within that field.
In short, the answer to the question, “If I get a good paying job while taking on a challenge that interests me outside of work? Is it OK? Would I be happy?”, is it depends.
Each person is different and unique. As a career professional, I recommend that you engage in an exploration stage. It is a stage of reflection, experimentation and documentation. You should constantly be in a stage of discovering and revisiting your BEAVI © (beliefs, experiences, abilities/skills, values, interests).
Here is a quote by Pema Chödrön to get you started on your reflection
It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately filling up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.
Need help finding your career answers? Let’s chat.