Enjoying your career is more important than earning a high salary or flashy title. Here's why now is the right time to switch to a job that makes you happy.
- According to a 2010 study, happiness increases as one's income rises up to $75,000 annually, at which point greater income was not associated with increased happiness.
- Having a job you love is more fulfilling and productive. It can even lead to a higher level of success.
- In order to determine what job you will love, ask yourself a few questions about your dreams, goals and strengths.
You've heard the cliche that life is too short. You don't know what tomorrow brings or where you'll end up. So why waste your time in a career that doesn't make you happy?
Studies have shown that happy people tend to earn higher salaries, and it stands to reason that these high earners are happy – at least in part – because they have jobs they love.
Reasons to do what you love
Enjoying your career should be a priority over earning a high salary or flashy title. Here are four reasons to quit the job you hate and start do what you love for a living. [Ready to quit your job? Here's how to do it right.]
1. You'll feel more fulfilled.
Your job shouldn't just be a source of income. If you don't enjoy what you do, you'll end up missing out on your life.
"As the lines between working life and personal life blur, a job is as much about personal fulfillment and growth as it is about a paycheck," said Philip Ryan, senior vice president at Ipsos Strategy3. "People don't want to make widgets; they want to change lives, including their own."
Your career should make you feel good emotionally, both in and out of the office.
"A job that you love ... gives you extra motivation to meet your goals, and when you do, the sense of accomplishment is outstanding," said Masanari Arai, co-founder and CEO of Kii Corporation.
You will carry and radiate that success wherever you go, helping yourself in other aspects of your life.
2. You'll be more productive.
It's important to feel motivated and inspired in your career. Without the drive to excel, your performance will lack passion and, in turn, your company may suffer. Productivity allows you to work in the most efficient manner, which makes room for downtime and encourages work-life balance.
"If you are passionate about your job, you are likely to take an active interest in learning every aspect of the business," said Patrice Rice, CEO and founder of Patrice & Associates. "This not only sets you on the path toward success, it also helps you get through the daily grind."
3. You'll inspire others.
Many people are too afraid to follow their dreams and do what they love. Think about what you would say to a friend or your loved one: Would you discourage them from doing what makes them happy simply because it's risky? When you do take that leap yourself, you become an inspiration to those individuals.
"As a mom who works, it is so important to me to be a role model for my young daughters," said Keli Coughlin, executive director of The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund. "While there might be busy weeks that require more time at the office, my girls know that I love my job, that it's meaningful to me, and that I am proud of the work. It is my hope that as my girls grow up, they are inspired to find a career that fulfills them and they are passionate about."
4. You'll succeed.
Michael Phillips, founder and CEO of Coconut's Fish Cafe, said that when you enjoy your job, it doesn't feel like work. "It makes it easier to get through the trials and tribulations of business ownership," he added.
You won't need someone to keep tabs on your work or motivate you to reach your full potential. You will do your best work because it's natural and exciting for you to do.
"When you love what you do, you are compelled to push against yourself," said Amir Zonozi, chief of strategy at Zoomph. "You want to be where you are challenging yourself, and you are competing with yourself in achieving your vision."
How to find a job you'll love
In order to determine what job you would enjoy, you have to ask yourself a few questions.
What did you want to be as a child?
While it might seem strange to go back to your childhood dreams, they might not be far off from what you would be happy doing. Whatever that might have been, the desire to do so had to come from somewhere.
Think back to that dream job. Even if you no longer want to have that job, it could help you figure out what drives you. For example, those who wanted to work in law enforcement might be driven by justice or helping people. If you wanted to be a teacher, maybe you liked school and working with kids. Tailor your motivators and your strengths to find that perfect position.
What would your friends or family say that you are good at?
Sometimes, talking to the people closest to you helps make more informed decisions. Ask your loved ones what they think your strengths are, and what job would allow you to use those skills. When you ask other people, you can gain additional perspective that you might not have considered. What you think your strengths are might not be what your friends and family think of first.
Who was your biggest role model growing up?
Similar to talking about your dream job as a child, you might think about who you idolized growing up. Did you love this person because they helped people? Did they have special skills that you wanted? Did you find similarities in their abilities with your own? By thinking about why you looked up to this person, you might find a job that would be good for you. Even if you did not consider it as a child, it might help uncover your true goals and desires.