On October 24th I attended a Career Satisfaction workshop at the “What Can You Be With a PhD?” symposium, presented by Matthias Birk. The room was fully packed, I had to squeeze together with several people and sit on the floor.
Mattias Birk was a passionate and inspiring speaker. I got good laughs from his humor, but I was also enlightened by his view of career satisfaction. The experience allowed me to realize it is critical to find the balancing point among strength, joy, and value for career satisfaction.
First, we need to ask ourselves and/or other people (e.g. friends, family, professors) what we’re innately good at, in other words, what we can naturally do well These are our core strengths, which we can apply to our work and help us to develop for a certain career path.
Second, let us ask ourselves what motivates us. Recall an experience at work or in life that energized and enlivened us. Through recalling this experience, we can think back on what happened, what we did, what kind of environment we were in, what gave us joy and happiness. In this way we can dig out what kind of career can allow us to follow our passion and joy.
What matters to us in either work or life is another key component we need to consider (e.g. achievement, compassion, creativity, enthusiasm, health, family). List ten values we consider most important and evaluate which of these values we are currently living. For example, if you consider your family top priority, but your current job requires you to travel intensely, this contradicts your number one value. In this case, you probably need to think about whether your current job is the right choice for your long-term career development.
It would be ideal if we could get a job that we are innately good at, we enjoy doing, and also matters to us; however, we are not living in an ideal world. To find the right job to make us satisfied, we need to consider three key components (strength, joy, and value) in our life and work, as well as learn how to find the balancing point among strength, joy, and value.