Happiness

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

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This article was written by Mary Sherwood Sevinsky, career and occupational consultant, on behalf of the Happy Grad Project. How do you find career happiness? Find out how this author's first client found it after college. New grads are often stymied by the influence of the well-intentioned, more established, and older adults in their lives. Often, when working with college-age clients, I find that they are unwittingly following a path established for them by their parents or other influencers. Worse, they are comparing where they are in their young lives to those more mature who have worked for decades to achieve what they have. This can be very disheartening, to say the least! To be truly happy, we all must know what makes us happy – in our careers, sure, but also in our lives. Think about what you enjoy, what you truly love to do. Start by not considering earning potential, job availability, or training. This reality check only includes you. What do you want for yourself? If you are a recent grad, you are a step ahead of a lot of other folks, even if you find that, after four years, you may not like your major much or don’t really know what you would like to do. If you are a recent grad who loves the major you have declared and know exactly what you want to do – great! Either way, consider how you want your days to be. Do you love the idea of commuting into the big city and working your way up from a cubby to a corner office? Do you want an open floor plan with a team of co-workers at your elbow, everyone kibitzing and solving the world problems? Do you love being outdoors – forget buildings altogether? What floats your boat? Knowing this will keep you focused on your goal and make you stand out from other candidates, from the first application to the final interview, and to every promotion you earn or business you start. Knowing what you love to do and why will also allow you to see opportunities you might otherwise miss. This secret knowledge will also keep you going through some of life’s curveballs and allow you to find the solutions you need to forge your path. I still remember my first client – a young woman of 20 years. Originally a business major, she had taken a literature class as part of her basic course work. After reading and writing an essay about The Metamorphosis by Kafka, the instructor called my client to the side to explain the B+ grade was for the writing, but that her insights had a very psychological bend and wondered if she had considered it for a major. The next semester, my client took a general psych class and became hooked! She read the entire textbook, including the appendices that explained what one could do with a career in psychology and how much one could expect to earn. It quickly became clear to her that she would have to get her Master’s degree and not just a Bachelor’s as she had planned. Excited by everything she had learned about the field and having a new passion, she shared it with everyone she knew. Abashed, she found that many of her friends and family counseled her to be more practical and work at something realistic that she could do with a bachelor’s degree and make more money. Wisely, she was not deterred into following the recommended path and was able to identify career opportunities she would have not otherwise seen. While she has veered somewhat from what she initially envisioned, she knew that she loved working with people and understanding what makes them tick and helping them through her interactions. Today, she has had many fulfilling years working with people, and is a successful Career Coach who never lost sight of the importance of loving what you do and what it can get you. In fact, my client has the opportunity to share the powerful message of the importance of choosing to do what you love every day... I know. I was my first client! My best wishes to all the new grads, young and old – you are starting out on a long path that is unique to you and only you can decide where it will take you. Good luck!

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Imagine your life as a montage in a movie. You flow through a series of clips starting in college - where you’re studying hard, connecting with new people, and growing up. You graduate, and get your first “real” job. It’s everything you wanted and more, and you sail off into the sunset of happiness and wealth with all your dreams coming true... Related: The Ugly Truth About Getting Your Dream Job Or do you? I’m about to share the truth about your journey to your dream job, and how you can make it as smooth, enjoyable, and rewarding as possible. But first, know this:

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Happy employees are more productive. This has been shown time and again not only in theoretical research and scientific studies but also in practice in major organizations like Alcoa, Apple, and Procter and Gamble, all of which benefited from making their workers happier by introducing new safety measures (Alcoa) or giving extra paid time off in recognition of good performance. So, British industry should be disturbed to find out that about one third of all workers are unhappy with their employers, a figure that is higher than that for most of Britain’s major competitors. Related: Want To Be Happy At Work? 3 Things To Consider Research from Randstad shows that of Britain’s 29.84 million people in work in Q3 of 2013 some 9.85 million were not happy. This means that only about 66% are happy compared with nearly 68% in France and Germany and around 74% in Belgium and The Netherlands. Britain also fares worse than other major English-speaking nations, which all have happiness rates of over 70% - as high as 77% in Canada. (Australia is the exception with a rate just below 70%). The true picture is, however, more disturbing. Randstad has conducted this type of research quarterly since 2003 and has found that Britain consistently has the poorest worker happiness results across those nations surveyed. Given that unhappy workers mean lower production, this would seem to be a wake up call for British industry; but what makes British workers so unhappy? The problem is that happiness comes from within the individual and changes from day-to-day. Stresses outside the workplace have a major influence but the workplace environment can enhance or reduce an individual’s degree of happiness. Randstad’s surveys suggest that British companies fail to grasp what makes them attractive to workers and thus makes workers happier. Randstad has found that most workers consider performing meaningful work to be their priority with good remuneration a close second. Employers, on the other hand, place brand name and business values at the top of their list of most attractive attributes, meaningful work and salary only ranking fifth and fourth respectively. And with research suggesting that about a third of unhappy workers attribute their unhappiness to boredom at work with around another third saying that their work is not challenging enough, it would appear that British companies might well be focussing on the wrong area. Interestingly, from its surveys Randstad has also found that over 40% of British workers complain that their skills are underutilized while nearly 40% of firms complain about a skills shortage. Clearly, therefore, there is a need for some re-evaluation of how workers are used. Employers can do a number of simple things to create a healthy work environment for their employees:

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Who doesn’t want to have a great day at work? I suppose everyone wants to have a great day except for a grouch - those who feel happiest when they are grouchy. So, what are some of the things I have done to get a great work day? Before I start, perhaps it's best to explain that you need to have a long term view. That view is - achieving more great days at work is possible if we learn some habits that will create that great day more frequently.

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What makes a good career? Is it a high salary? Is it an opportunity to follow a passion? Or is it something even more basic than that? All of us know people who landed fantastic jobs - jobs with high salaries and prestige, or dream jobs in creative fields - who, within a few years, burned out and became unhappy. Although these are the kinds of careers that people say they want, they aren't necessarily the kinds of jobs that lead to career happiness. If you want to be happy in your career, you have to identify your real desires, not just the ordinary yearning for a job that comes with a big paycheck or a high-status title. How do you do that? You do some soul-searching and find out what is really important to you. Then, you build a career around your true desires, instead of trying to force your dreams into a career.

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As I sit here today, I realize that I have not written a blog post or article for several weeks. Although this may seem insignificant to many of you who are readingcareer-related articles daily, I have personally paid a price.

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