I’ve been searching for my ‘dream job’ for over a decade, and I still haven’t found it. But I have learned quite a few things on the road to work happiness.
Don’t always blindly follow your passion
Knowing what your passion is or what it is you love to do, is an important step. Just knowing what it is you love, often takes a lot of soul-searching. But for me, it wouldn’t have worked to drop everything and just sail off to the land of passion. I love doing a lot of stuff as a hobby, combining it with a ‘good enough’ job. (Read ‘Refuse to choose‘ by Barbara Sher if you want to know more about this). Following your passion could also easily translate in: run away the minute it gets difficult and you’re building something. However, I think following your passion works if you really know you have a big change of succeeding and rationally it also makes sense, but you’re just very scared. Then I’d say: follow your passion.
You will change
Your identity is not something fixed. It’s eternally influenced by what you learn, what you see, what you experience, whom you talk to, what books you read, etc.
We have this urge to define ourselves with work titles and functions (e.g. “Once I’ll be a manager, I’ll be happy”) or to keep wanting to go higher on the ‘career ladder’. But once you get there, you might realize it was all in your head, and you don’t like being there at all. And that’s ok.
Don’t forget about what truly matters
People that are on a work happiness quest often only think about themselves. I know I did for a very long time. But what about your neighbours, your family, your friends, your wife or your husband? They are often equally important in your life, but because you develop some kind of ‘tunnel view’ focused on work, you forget that they are the ones that make you smile when your working life kind of makes you depressed.