3 Steps to Career Joy (Hint: it’s not $)

I’ve been on a little hiatus as I transitioned from California to Bend, Oregon, leaving behind my frantic pace in the corporate world. What did I learn?

One, my inspiration for writing comes from everyday interactions in business.

Two, there is a difference between career happiness and joy. Just as in life, these two things are profoundly different. Happiness is external. It's based on situations, events, people, places, things, and thoughts. Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, where you are, why you are, and who you are not with. When you need nothing more than your truth and the love of a good God to bring peace.

I wrote about my pit of despair in a three-part series, Purpose: Find Yours. I was happy. I wasn’t full of joy.

I’m now on my journey back into the professional world with a newfound focus – finding career joy. My three guiding principles:

  1. You can have it all, just not at the same time. Wise words from my Mom somewhere along my struggle to balance career and starting a family. Have you ever noticed that when career is going well, home life is struggling or vice versa? Manage this by finding the joy in each of these selves, in that moment. I’ve found being present in the moment is key to finding joy. That looks like turning my phone to vibrate when I am at home. Silent/do not disturb after 9pm. Putting the phone down in conversation. And guess what – that looks the same in my professional interactions – just different hours. HT to Arian Huffington and her 5 Secrets to Thriving at Work and upcoming ThriveGlobal company aiming to change how we work and live.
  2. Do what you love, not for the title. These mentoring words from my CMO as I had just chuntered on for 10 minutes about where I saw my career going in 5 years… only using titles. It was a definitive turning point in my career. From that day I decided to stop worrying about the next promotion and in the words of Seth Godin, “started making a rukus.” The joy of this approach? Promotions are icing on the cake.
  3. No bad outcome. My former CEO told me this after we were acquired. If this sounds familiar, I blogged about this experience in “M&A: Surviving the Arranged Marriage.” How empowering this statement is. A reminder of the fact that joy comes when you make peace with who you are, where you are, why you are, and who you are not with. With peace comes the realization that there is no bad outcome. My husband likes to refer to this as the “position of FU.” 
Someone I greatly respect once proudly proclaimed to me that their goal over the next five years was to have a net worth of $25M. After an awkward silence I asked, “why?” Money will never equal happiness. Money will never equal success.

My goal is to have a net worth of 25M in joy. I feel like I’m just getting started…