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Defining what counts as fulfilment in a job

Defining what counts as fulfilment in a jobImage Credit: Supplied

Having a fulfilling job isn't always easy. People may find ways to see the positive aspects like financial stability, value to the community, social status, etc. But what really makes a job fulfilling is very personal.

That is a problem when dream-like jobs turn disappointing for those who are in real touch with their personal definition of success. That is why when you evaluate job satisfaction, first and foremost consider your own requirements.

People may be cheering you for a promotion or for the money you're making, but if you don't feel your requirements are met, rethinking where you are professionally may be a good move and so is the career switch that follows.

Here are a few points to consider when your vision of your success doesn't seem to match others' perception.


Know what makes you feel accomplished. For some people, it's money. For others, it is social status or professional recognition.

What are your own criteria? Be honest about these even if they don't seem to be the most popular or socially acceptable standards. You may be more of a person who is looking for a relaxed schedule or an undemanding job to do.

You may be a caring person who feels like a job should contribute to the overall benefit of community, the broader society or even the world.

Knowing your personal priorities will help you set goals that are achievable and pursue them either in your current position or wherever you go. The most important aspect to remember is to be realistic.

Take small, but actual, steps toward the goal and make sure that in the pursuit of professional fulfilment you don't cause yourself or others major financial inconvenience — by suddenly quitting a job, for example.

Don't overlook your success

Although you don't need to be carried away with others' perceptions regarding your accomplishments, don't completely write them off. Many people who quit successful careers feel waves of regret later as they struggle to rebuild themselves.

That is not to say you shouldn't make the change, but be prepared for moments of loss and regret — even if these moment end up to be brief and easy to handle.

In addition, take the best out of your experience even when you're trying to move as far as possible from it, distancing yourself. If you've spent years doing a particular job successfully, you're probably able to find many transferable skills that can be useful in your next adventure.

Don't overlook that success. In fact, you will need all the help you can get to make your move less stressful and quicker. So list what skills can be relevant and make sure to stress them in future cover letters and job interviews.

Make a move

Being in an unfulfilling job should not be a life sentence. If the job isn't matching aspirations, you should have a plan to how to change it. Again, that is not a sudden or time-sensitive plan, but rather it should be well thought out that takes you to the right long-term career.

For example, consider the educational skills needed, what types of jobs are available in your area, and how you will prepare for the move.

To make sure that the new career won't be similarly disappointing after you invest time and effort, consider all aspects of the new job. Before taking a step in that direction, get a realistic idea not only of the position, but also of your potential entry duties.

For example, if you're ready to join a non-profit organisation that is carrying out impressive societal efforts, the role — at the beginning and probably for many years — may be less than significant. You must be prepared for that, and willing to climb the ladder not only at your own pace, but as the opportunities provided by this particular career unfold.

Find out why professionals do not make excuses

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to