Climbing up the career ladder requires not only capabilities and strength, but also some wit to get us through the bumps along the journey. A good career should leave one satisfied, but not everyone starts off their career perfectly happy. However, as the saying goes: be your own architect and craft the context that you want to be in; finding satisfaction in our work helps to motivate us and also benefit our careers in the long run. Here are ten simple tips on how to achieve satisfaction in your career.
1. Speak Up
Don’t keep your brilliant ideas to yourself, share with your coworkers; make yourself heard. Whenever you notice a problem, come up with an idea, or identify a developing crisis, tell someone. When it comes to a presentation, a sales pitch, or a conference call, go for it and speak; it’s your time to shine. Being able to present the value you see, to communicate with clients about what they want and what you can deliver, and to let your ideas travel through your words are essential for career advancement. And after you’ve done all these, you’ll be amazed by how much you’ve grown.
2. Offer Help
Seeing a new hire struggling to pick things up? Offer to give him/her a tour and share stories of your early days. Hearing the coworker next to you complain that his/her computer doesn’t work well? Offer to check or contact the support staff. Offering help makes our values visible to both ourselves and others. Other than feeling that you are important to others’ work, you’ve also established a helpful, affable, and reliable self-brand at your workplace.
3. Contribute Beyond the Scope of Your Responsibilities
Always ask: “Is there anything else I can do to help?” Sometimes your coworkers may not be able to think of something off the top of their heads, which is common, and what you can do is to read group emails or SharePoint projects about the projects that don’t directly concern you, and ask specifically. Slowly, your coworkers will view you as a problem solver, someone that can jump on board on short notice, and your significance will increase sharply.
4. Track Performance
How did you help improve the performance of your department, your team, and your company? Other than a compelling story, you may also want to track your performance by numbers: “grew the team from X to Y people”; “increased sales by X%”; “brought X projects to closure,” etc. Acknowledging these concrete accomplishments will absolutely boost your satisfaction (and your resume).
5. Organize Activities
Take the initiative to organize something, be it a Friday karaoke night or a birthday surprise for your coworkers. Becoming the powerhouse that radiates enthusiasm and positivity will only leave you more satisfied and fulfilled.
6. Expand Your Network
Meet new people and explore new areas. New people always means new opportunities, and by expanding your network you’ll likely become a resourceful person. The giving and reciprocating of social resources in professional settings can always be a source of your satisfaction – that’s what the corporate world is about, after all.
7. Reflect on Your Career Growth
It’s important to step back from time to time and reflect on what you’ve learned over a period. You can ask yourself: do I know more about the company now than when I first started? Do I now understand the management and leadership better? Am I doing better in terms of more appropriately expressing my ideas? If your answer is “YES!”, you’ll be overflowing with satisfaction. If it’s “not yet”, set these as your goals for the next month and try your best to accomplish them.
8. Develop Supplementary Skills
Over the course of our careers, most of us develop some sort of skills in a specialized field, but that doesn’t mean we should not develop other skills to round off our overall capabilities. For example, if you are a programmer or most of your work involves more “do” than “speak,” try to craft your public speaking skills or learn a new language. These dots will connect some day, and often sooner than you think.
9. Learn from Mistakes and Request Feedback
Embrace mistakes and learn from them. When you try something for a second time, request feedback of your performance from your boss, coworkers, and clients. No one can always be perfect; it’s the learning process that makes us stronger professionals.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for What You Want
Now you’ve done a wonderful job, you deserve more in order to deliver even more value. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want (in a diplomatic and polite way, of course). In my encounters with professionals with 20+ years of experience, I often feel that’s what sets the most successful people apart from the rest. And when you get what you want, reciprocate. It’s not only the best way to develop sustainable relationships, but also brings you the satisfaction of growing and giving back.
What tips do you have that prove to be useful in gaining career satisfaction? Share with us in the comments!