In a past working life, I was asked the question “what gives you joy in your work?”
And I struggled to answer it. I had spent most of my career managing and developing others and had lost sight of what brings me joy in my work.
A few years later I took a redundancy as a pharmaceutical manager. I had been in this position for a number of years, and I made a pact with myself that I would take the time to step back and consider what I really wanted to do. What really makes me happy.
Interestingly enough, the question of “what gives you joy in your work?” is one of the first things I now ask candidates when they are seeking their next challenge, next step, a change or find themselves at a stalemate in their career.
What gives you joy in your work?
Some people can answer this question immediately but most stop, pause, and take the time to consider what this truly means, as it often gets lost in the monotony of daily duties, grind, and routine. Whether you’re thriving or simply surviving in your role.
The question that everyone can answer is: “What is it that under no circumstance do you NOT want in your next role?” Responses to this question tend to be immediate. Normally the answers are quick and confident to this question.
So why do we sometimes continue to do a job that we dislike? Reality is we have responsibilities. The majority of us must work to live. Truth be told, most of the time we are so busy just doing our current job that we don’t have the time for self-reflection and self-check-ins around our own joy and fulfilment in our current role.
Dissatisfaction in our work can influence every other aspect of our life: family, social, physical, and emotional. On average we spend a third of our life working, so without joy and fulfilment in our career we are doing ourselves the biggest disservice of all.
When making assessments about what we want from our work, sometimes the first step is asking yourself simple questions, that require honest answers:
What gives me joy at work? and what do I need in my next position to enable me to thrive?
What don’t I want in my next role? What currently hinders me thriving?
For these questions to be effective, its important to be brutally honest with yourself and use this strategy when assessing your current position and looking for your next. At your next interview adapt your questions to possible new employers. Ask questions relating to culture, management style, measurement of success, development opportunities and ask your potential new manager, what gives them joy in their current position?
What gives me joy in my work is quite simple (after contemplating it for the past 20 years), adding value to others, by giving them the tools to thrive and succeed on their own. Also, for me my greatest source of joy is my family. I need to have the flexibility and ability to spend time and be there for them as they are my greatest gift. 12 years ago, I started in healthcare recruitment and have been able to find joy in my work. The ability to still work in pharmaceuticals, medical device and healthcare with candidates at all levels of experience and watch them secure dream roles and then watch their career grow. Partnering with companies and managers across a wide and extensive spectrum in this industry and matching both these parties together has been so fulfilling.
I highly recommend that you also find out what gives you Joy in your work, no role is 100% perfect but doing what you love really makes life a lot better. I highly recommend it!
– Deb Buch, South Australia/Western Australia Business Manager EPHealthcare