Gary Vaynerchuk – Do What You Love

Gary Vaynerchuk is a marketing juggernaut . He understands the importance of networking, doing what you love, and not being afraid to make money doing it.

Here is his words of wisdom:

A Brand New Theme for Work Happy Now

It’s here. A glorious new theme for Work Happy Now. (If you are reading this in a blog reader than click here to check it out.) It’s all about baby steps. This baby of a blog has just taken its first step, taking off the training wheels if you will permit me to use a cliché phrase. It’s ready to become a big boy and sit on the potty and do great work all by himself.

A gross visual that helps you see where I’m taking this blog. To the next level. I’m all about the Seth Godin drip effect. Slowly and surely I’m encouraging all of you to love a little Work Happy Now every single day. Giving so many brilliant ideas that you’ll keep coming back.

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My Wish For You


I try to send out a daily wish/prayer to the universe for you. I wanted to share it all with you today.


My wish for


of you

is that you

find that one thing that you are so passionate about

that when you wake up

on Monday morning

your blood is singing with glee.

[Read more…]

A Steve Pavlina Interview on How to Build Your Career

Work Happy Now was granted an interview with Steve Pavlina, the online Personal Development King. I just gave him that title, but I think most of us can agree that no one has more online “personal development” clout than Steve.

I was nervous. I wanted everything to go perfectly. My voice was a little shaky at the start. You’ll notice this when you listen to the first podcast. I calmed down after a few minutes and I delivered a pretty good interview.

I told my wife that I probably would put Steve at the top of my list of famous people to interview.


“What about Obama?” she asked.

“Sure, I would love to interview Obama, but interviewing Steve meant more to me. I would probably get more readers with an Obama interview, but that doesn’t matter. I’ve been following Steve’s blog for almost three years,” I replied.

“Wow! You really enjoyed talking with him.”

“Yeah, he’s down to earth and intelligent. I couldn’t have asked for a better interview.”

“You’ve worked hard for this. I’m proud of you.”



I broke the interview down into five parts:


  • Building Your Career Foundation – 8:36
  • How to Overcome Fear – 7:53  
  • Why Passion is More Important Than Money – 6:21
  • Spirituality – 4:23 
  • Steve Pavlina’s Core Principals – 10:39  

    The sound quality isn’t the greatest since I recorded it using Skype. I had to increase the volume on Steve’s answers so it matched my volume. It’s not a perfect recording, but I’m sure you’ll find it interesting. Steve’s answers are honest and unique.

    Enjoy! I know I did.

    Check out my review of Steve’s book Personal Development for Smart People.


    Articles Related to Steve’s Brilliant Advice:

    How to Retire From the Grind and Not Get Bored

    I have a friend who is only 37 and is ready to retire. He and his wife have had good jobs for 15 years and have been able to save a substantial amount of money. They aren’t rich by any means, but are getting pretty comfortable with the money they’ve saved. Enough to live simply and also pay for their children’s higher education. He did it by living below his means. Like Get Rich Slowly always tells us, “spend less than you make and invest in historically proven investments” and you’ll be retiring earlier than you thought too.

    My friend’s goal is to retire in three years (age 40), and go into a new career. I would never have guessed his new career choice, but it does make sense. He wants to be a park ranger, taking care of his state’s preserved land. He doesn’t need to make a lot of money, just enough to pay a few bills and his investments will cover the rest.

    When I heard this I was a little shocked. He could really set himself up for the rest of his life, retiring in style if he continued until 67, but I think he would rather be a hobo than continue to work at his present job.

    Hard Look at Myself

    My friend made me look at my own life and where I want it to go. I want to retire in the next five years (age 37). By “retirement,” I mean retiring from the daily grind and doing what I love to do instead: helping people work happier. This site is the seed that was planted in February 2008. I’m done messing around with my career. It’s time to pick my direction and run as if I’m being chased by a tiger.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m open to new ideas, but this is the direction in which I’m heading because it gets me excited. Believe me, I’m flexible if an opportunity comes along. It just better be in my arena of expertise. If the project keeps me excited and every day is creative then I’m all for it. As long as I can help people enjoy their work or find a career that will help them become even more successful and happy then I’m living my dream.

    What About Your 3rd Career

    Just because you’ve put your time in doesn’t mean you should stop working. I believe that we all still need to give back to society. Have you thought about what you want your middle age to look like? Or if you are middle age what you want your retirement to look like? Do you want to work where you are until 67 or do you want a midlife career change? Most of us are living way into our 80’s and 90’s. You should be thinking of these things so you can plan out the best way to be happy.

    Just a seed for your thoughts. What is that one thing you love? What if you started a website/blog now and posted one article, picture, drawing, report, or video a week for the next 20 years? Do you think people would view you as an expert? Do you think that you might parlay it into a third career?

    Let’s discuss this in the comment section. I look forward to seeing you there.

    Articles Related to Improving Your Career:


    Image courtesy of Ted.Sali

    When Your Career Sucks, You Can Fix It

    If you take a hard look at your career, you’ll see hundreds of failures. A failure is rarely a dramatic occurrence. Most are usually small and hardly leave a blip on our awareness. No matter how small, the blip is registered and it often builds or reduces confidence. So if we break down our work happiness psyche, it all comes down to our ability to deal with each obstacle and how we use these experiences to build our careers.

    Many people encounter difficulties and they either give up or avoid the challenge, instead of pushing through their fears.

    Fear has dictated many of my actions.

    When I didn’t enjoy my job it was usually because I was afraid of:

    • Not being able to find a job that I really liked so I kept quitting and looking for something else.
    • Being fired because I didn’t want to put effort into something that wasn’t rewarding me properly.
    • Trying really hard and still getting caught in a tough position so I would just coast along, doing work that was just okay.

    Fear is based in assumptions. We assume that our boss doesn’t care about our hard work, so what’s the point of trying. We assume that our hard work doesn’t matter. Our fear holds us back from reaching true greatness. The funny thing is that even the greatest business people often see faults in the choices they make. The difference is that they don’t let the fear dictate their future decisions.

    I’ve seen dozens of people get fired because they did not put their full effort into making their job a success. They either wanted something easier or something more challenging. They were stuck on the seesaw of emotions, flying high or low, never really knowing what they wanted. Ask yourself: are you truly happy where you are? If not, you have choices and it’s up to you to empower your career and give it a good kick it in the butt.

    Help Yourself Make a Choice

    When you lay out all your options it’s easier to see what you need to do to find a career that will get you excited and keep your energy level high, whether it be a new perspective on the present job or doing something completely different.  Some of you may make lists of all the pros and cons of staying at your present job, use mind mapping techniques or talk to a trusted friend who knows you almost as well as you know yourself.

    The only way to do work that you enjoy is to take risks:

    • Ask for new tasks at your present job
    • Try a similar job at another company
    • Go back to school
    • Experiment with other jobs that you think will hold your interest
    • Start a company

    Some of you may not love your jobs, but you are okay with this because you get to do what you love on the weekends. If you do a decent job that you enjoy and it doesn’t create that much stress then don’t be afraid to keep doing it. You don’t need to conquer the world if you enjoy what you do. However, for most of you this won’t cut it, so you need to find what type of work will trigger the most happiness.

    An Emotional Foundation

    It’s all about being honest with who you are and what you want. If you need to wake up and get excited about what you do to earn a living then it’s time to make a plan. You need to do some soul searching and write a list of emotional needs as related to your career. When working happy, money isn’t always a powerful motivator. Your career happiness will most likely depend on two main factors: Your ability to feel productive and the people you work with.

    I created a list about 5 years ago and my shortened version looks like this:

    • Writing
      • Poetry
      • Marketing/business
      • Self-help
      • Novels
    • Public Speaking
      • Although it made me nervous it got me excited.
    • Flexibility
      • Ability to go and be where I wanted, not be stuck in an office.
    • Sharing of Ideas
      • I love to share and develop ideas with other people.
    • Laughter
      • I wanted a job that was fun. Nothing too serious and uptight.
    • Grand Goals
      • I wanted a job that had almost infinite possibility.

    I realized that there wasn’t one job out there that was able to satisfy my needs. I am building on my career to get where I want to go. I looked at my list and tried to figure out what niche would best fit my talents. I pictured myself in a whole mess of careers: advertising, copywriter, freelancer, massage therapist, chiropractor, poet, school counselor, artist, teacher, and novelist. None of them seemed practical and a solid fit for me. I knew that I wanted to write, but not sure what niche. I also knew that I wanted to speak and engage the public. The more that I kept coming back to my desires, my career came into focus.

    That’s why I started Work Happy Now, my fifth blog. It fit with my degree (Business – Marketing), my passions (writing and public speaking), and it also satisfied the most crucial need for me (The ability to be creative). Practicing this work on the side makes my day job easier to go to each morning. I know that I’m building toward a greater goal.

    Building Your Skills

    I’m currently working for a company, but I’m also gaining valuable experience to build on my career foundation. I speak to various schools about financial literacy (public speaking), I create PR for my company (refine my business writing), and I get to design brochures and web banners for the website (creative).

    When you can find ways to increase your skills at your present job then it will become more enjoyable.

    You must create opportunity to help see greater possibility. That may mean doing work outside of your job details, but that’s how you get ahead.

    Try building on your career foundation by:

    • Asking a co-worker if they need help on a project.
    • Asking your boss’s advice on a report.
    • Asking your boss for a specific project that interests you.
    • Develop a project that you think will help the company and when it’s got some substance – pitch it to your boss.

    You have to create opportunities.

    Pride + Passion = Success

    Being good at a job takes pride.  We have to care about the outcome or we are never going to double check our reports or follow up with that annoying customer.

    It’s harder to care about work that is monotonous. If you can’t find a reason to care about the outcome of your work then it’s up to you to take control and find out what you really need to feel successful.

    You have to ask yourself why you either lost or never had pride in your job. If it’s fear then it’s your fault. If you are bored then it’s also your fault. I’m going to be honest. You are the reason that you are in this position. It’s really up to you to release that fear and do what gives you the best odds to be happy.

    Find A Career that Fulfills Your Dreams

    Look at your list of emotional needs and find the theme that emerges. Every list has a theme and yours will help lead you to the career that will build energy instead of sucking it away from you.

    Down deep, you probably have some idea of your dream job. It’s your fear that keeps you from pursuing this career. The easiest way to release your fear is to imagine yourself doing what you love. Allow yourself to feel these emotions. Let them build passion. Visualization is a great technique to build motivation, but you must also act on these feelings to encourage change.

    If you want to change career paths then start taking little steps toward that goal:

    • Talk to people who have a similar career and find out how they created their path
    • Go to night school
    • Create a website
    • Join a club
    • Join a network online

    Every time you add new tools to your skill set, your fear will likely regress. Start small and keep on taking baby steps.

    If you only have a general idea of what you would love to do then create a list of steps to accomplish. As you mark off your progress your confidence will grow and the apprehension will wither away. Before you even reach your dream career you’ll be enjoying the foundation that will make it happen. That’s what it means to work happy NOW. You have to appease the “present you” to keep yourself motivated to improve your career.

    So go take a baby step and surround yourself in an environment that will make you happy. If you like to organize then join a club and make contacts. If you love writing then create a blog. If you like sports then volunteer at your local college and start making contacts that will help you develop this passion.

    Your skills will take time to build, but I promise if you stick with it you’ll see progress. You’ll slowly add new friends in the industry. These new friends may one day help you find a job that will make your dream career a reality.

    Now go get started and add a new skill to your foundation and see what happens.

    Here are a few articles from my fellow bloggers that will help you gain a better understanding of what direction to take:

    If you haven’t found your perfect job (like most of us) then what are you doing to find a career that fits your emotional needs? Let’s discuss in the comments so we can learn from each other’s choices.

    Articles Related to Making Your Career So Cool that You Almost Pee Yourself:


    Images courtesy of orphanjones and Walsh

    The Magic of Allowing Employees to Do What They Love

    What would you do if you heard from your boss that you could do anything you wanted for two hours every week? The catch: as long as it was related to work?

    Would you hug her?

    That could mean designing a new logo, creating a company year book, writing a company theme song, or creating a customer appreciation program. Whatever would make you happy, you get to do it for two hours every week. I know that I would love to do something completely different to help my company.

    I’ve had good ideas that I was afraid to pursue, but this would take some of the pressure off because it wouldn’t be under your job description. It would allow you to be creative and probably come up with something valuable.

    Company benefits:

    –        Boosts employee morale

    –        Improves employee retention

    –        Co-workers collaborate

    –        Shows the employees strengths to the employer, so the manager will be encouraged to change the employee’s job description if an idea is successful

    Bla, bla, bla. All of you know that doing extra work for the good of the company helps them, but how does it help you?

    Employee benefits:

    –        Looks good on the resume (In this high turnover age we have to expect that employees want jobs that benefit their careers.)

    –        Allows for complete creativity

    –        Employee will enjoy work more

    –        No pressure to be perfect

    For any company worried about wasted hours, I’ve read several articles indicating that most employees only work between 4 – 6 hours a day. They are just putting in their time until they get home, but if a company would empower them to create something new then they would work harder than they had ever worked before. Both the company and employee wins. Workers become happier and the company becomes more successful.

    So my question to you is, why don’t more companies utilize this type of program? Would you like this or would it only add to your workload?

    Articles that are cool like that:


    Image courtesy of John Calnan

    Connecting Our Work Happiness – 25 Words

    Your work happiness

    is my work bliss.



    without you

    there is no me.


    Your joy is mine and it is why I go on.



    Idea courtesy of Liz Strauss

    Your 3 Careers – Are You Ready?

    You will probably have 3 distinct career phases by the time you are done (it starts with your first job and ends when you kick the bucket). Many people are living into their 80’s and 90’s. The children born today may live to an average of 100 years old. Our medicine is getting scary good.

    That may mean that we could have 70 or more working years before we feel like stopping. That’s a lot of time to be prosperous. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see myself sitting in a rocking chair, sipping lemonade and waiting for death. I want to be productive for as long as my mind and body will allow.

    A professor emeritus of biochemistry and biophysics, Britton Chance says, “Most of the people who work on cognitive deficits realize that it’s better to use it than to lose it.” – Emily Brandon of U.S. News

    Understanding your career time-frame will allow you to pick and choose the skills that are needed now to make the rest of your life successful. Paul Newman (1925 – 2008) is my favorite example. He started out in the Navy, wanting to be a pilot. His physical revealed that he was colorblind. He went on to be a radioman and a gunner for the Navy. He finished his tour in WWII and went on to study acting. His second career was acting and directing and he starred in films such as Cool Hand Luke (1967), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), and The Color of Money (1986). For his third career he decided to give back by creating a non-profit organic line of food, Newman’s Own. He has donated over $250 million to charity as of February 2008. It’s this activity, I believe, that gave him the strength to fight cancer as long as he did and continue his great work. Without a cause to there is no reason to live. I wish him all the best in his next life.

    When you are at the beginning of each career you must ask yourself “Why?” before you do anything. If you are going to school for art, then why are you doing it? If you are doing it for fun then so be it, but you must always be aware of how it fits into the “present you” and “future you.” You must appreciate the choices that you make now so it builds on the foundation you have already established. You may think you want to be a famous sculptor, but if all you do is ride your mountain bike every weekend then you must take a hard look at what you think you want compared to what really interests you.

    Every choice becomes a part of who you are. From your friends to your hobbies, they all influence your decisions.

    1st Career Phase – Discovery

    The 1st job is usually in the late teens, which is about getting your feet wet. There will probably be plenty of jobs between the first and the one that actually allow you to optimize your talents.

    My first job was with my father as an electrician’s helper. I ran wire, wired in fans and did what I was told. Next, I moved on to K-mart as a cashier. Then back with my father and mushroom mongering (picking wild mushrooms and selling them to local restaurants). Then I took a job in media buying. Next, I tried telemarketing miniature leather saddles to a list of old buyers. (Yep, it was as bad as it sounds.) After that I was a marketing coordinator for “high pressure” valve company. Then I worked as a teacher and in the summers I managed a cyber-café. My next job was a front desk receptionist at a Yoga Studio. Then a part-time handyman. Finally, a marketing coordinator for a credit union. Now…

    2nd Career Phase – Optimization

    The 2nd career is about hitting your stride. It’s when you know you’ve found that job that you are good at, pays well, or feels exciting. Of course we want the second career to provide all three of these, but that’s not always the case if we get lazy about making our career fit our needs.

    My 2nd career is just beginning. I’m trying to leverage myself into the career development industry, making myself an expert in the field. At 32 I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on how I can accomplish this. As you can see this website has already helped me declare my commitment to career development for people who love their lives.

    3rd Career Phase – Giving Back

    The 3rd career is about giving back to the things and people you love. That may mean giving your grandchildren the love and attention that they deserve. It may mean counseling businesses to optimize their talent. Whatever it is, it’s all about giving back to show appreciation for the life that we’ve enjoyed.

    My 3rd career is still foggy. I know that I want to retire in my late fifties and hopefully live a simple life with a nice little plot of land. I’m going to give back by helping people with their careers. I hope that they can be as happy and successful as I feel right now and expect to be in the future.


    Your career success depends on leverage. It’s the most important aspect to building your foundation. Without leverage you’ll most likely receive terrible pay and work awful hours. That’s why a lot of college students are stuck working at Pizza Hut. They haven’t mastered the skills to leverage their work and enhance their career.

    A college degree isn’t always a necessity and you can leverage your career in many ways. Some of you will be creative and others will take advantage of the family business already in place. Others will learn how to build a network to help get a job out of college that fits your needs.

    Use Leverages to Build Your Career Foundation

    Family Name

    Your family members may have already built a network that you can feed off of if they let you. My brother went into business with my father – electrical contracting. They work hard, but make a good living. My brother will eventually take over the business and he’ll have all the client relationships that have been built up for the past 40 years.

    Build a Network

    You’ll need patience and persistence to build your network, but if your passion is strong enough this won’t feel like work. I’m working on building my network by trying to help as many people on-line and off-line as I can. I’ve created a brand for myself and every day it helps me bring more awareness to my site and my potential business.


    Emotions are what transforms a product that is “just useful” into a breakaway success. Look at your favorite artists – you probably love them more than most of your friends. For example (let’s have a little fun) if your favorite musician was drowning out in the middle of the sea along with your 7th favorite friend (the one that you sometimes enjoy being around, but a lot of times they get really annoying). All you have is a little kayak. You can only save one; who would it be? You don’t have to tell me in the comments, but I think that we all know who you would pick. When you can create a product or service that people love, then you can even mess up a customer’s order and still come out smelling like a new iPhone. Although I don’t think you’ll make mistakes on purpose to prove my point, but if you do and they truly love you, they’ll just keep coming back for more.


    If you graduate from Yale compared to West Chester University you’ll have a lot more doors open to you. It’s up to the individual to work hard and make a difference, but it’s a lot easier to succeed when the company knows that you are smart enough to graduate from such a prestigious university.

    How You Look (Sex Appeal)

    We are a society based around sex. Taller men often get the CEO positions. Prettier women may get pushed up the ladder because we want to be around beautiful people. If they don’t have what it takes, it will eventually come out and they’ll crash and burn, but if they can leverage themselves to the top and learn the skills necessary to be successful then they’ll probably able to build a pretty solid career.


    Having talent is the least important factor on this list. You may have all the talent in the world, but if you can’t finish projects then it doesn’t matter. In the end what matters is producing the results. I’ve seen talented young kids come into an organization and they just don’t have what it takes to make a sale. They talk a big game and can make some pretty cool PowerPoint presentations, but that’s it. Talent is the weakest leverage, but one we still need. When you can use your network to build your rapport and your passion to push toward your goals then your talent will allow you to shine when you need to “wow” the customer.


    Plan of Attack

    You must gain an understanding of who you are and what you want to accomplish to make your dreams come true. That’s why you should use your first career as a way to discover what you like and how you want to go about accomplishing your goals. I had a friend who planned his retirement at age 25. He went to a personal financial advisor, was open and honest about his finances and his potential earnings, and decided that with intense self-discipline that age 48 would be his retirement goal. A retirement lifestyle that would fulfill his needs was within his grasp if his plan was properly executed.

    If you aren’t this anal then please don’t feel stressed that you don’t have every year of your career planned out. But you do need to have a plan of attack that will allow you succeed. Hitting certain age milestones can feel painful if a system was never put in place to ensure achievement that will meet your goals.

    1st Career: Use this time to understand what you want out of life.

    When starting your first career, don’t worry about sticking around to build that 401k. If your company has one please contribute in to this plan, but don’t force yourself to stay with the company for another year just so you can get 20% more invested in your return. Your knowledge and network is so much more important than a few thousand dollars. So try working in retail, an office, surf shop, and maybe even a small side business to see what owning your own business is like. Do whatever it takes to help you discover your hidden talents and passions.

    I could have gone into business with my father and brother or stayed at the valve company and I probably would have been ready to retire by age 50 if I was careful with my money, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to explore new career horizons. There is such a wide range of careers to be discovered and enjoyed.

    2nd Career: Use this time to optimize your talents and connect with as many people in your field as time and energy will allow.

    When have had the opportunity to try many different jobs, hobbies, and possibilities then start to take note of what you enjoy and how you may fit it into a career. Maybe 10% of you will find that perfect job right out of school, but most of you will continue to explore and you’ll never stop discovering until your needs are fulfilled.

    Many of you may want to take the conventional approach to finding a career, but I know a lot of you will want to carve your own niche out. I’m in the process of creating my network so I can use it to leverage my writing and speaking career. This may seem like too much of a hassle or just silly, but to me it makes sense. I don’t want to go back for my Master’s degree. I want to open doors with my persistence, talent, and network.

    3rd Career: Use this time to slow down and give back to the community that has helped support you.

    Eventually you will hit a point when you’ll feel tired of doing the same thing every day. Well most of you will. Some of you may work all the way to your grave, and that’s okay too. However, many of us will move on to that third career to take life a little slower, smell the roses if you want an overused expression to help make my point.

    I’ve talked to dozens of people and they want their 2nd career to gradually come to a close. They don’t want to be working 50 hour weeks then suddenly one day just stop and piddle around in their garage. They want to ease out slowly and transition into retirement. If you are close to this position then you must be willing to talk to your employer about this (This is where owning your own business has it’s perk. It’s your choice to keep working if that’s what you would like). My friend’s grandfather, 85, still works with his son in the furniture business. He doesn’t just want to sit around all day and do nothing. He wants to help his son build the business even larger. He works four hours a day from 10 – 2 and still makes sales, contacts, and money that he doesn’t even need. The mornings and evenings are slow and lazy and that’s just the way he likes it.

    I truly believe a happy 3rd career is about giving back to the community and people you love and respect. There is just too much knowledge and love in most of us to just give up and sit in front of the TV. It’s up to each of us to create this for ourselves. This won’t fall in our lap.

    Your 3 Careers

    If you can plant the seed now you can create a life that will fulfill you way into your 90’s. That’s my prayer to you for today. I actually have a personal prayer that I send out to all of my readers every day. Yesterday’s was, “I pray that you are having a more enjoyable day than me.”

    Praying for future happiness is good, but planning it out and taking action to make it happen will make all three of your careers flourish.

    Articles related to Career fulfillment:


    Image courtesy of Ferdi’s World

    Trapped in a Job You Hate? How to Take that First Step Toward Career Bliss

    This is a guest post from Janelle Vadnais, who is social media manager and a business blogger.

    “It’s amazing how much unhappiness we needlessly cause ourselves by ascribing negative meanings to simple things that happen in our lives.” -Gaile Blanke

    I hate my job.  Well, at least I used to.  Let me start at the beginning.

    As long as I can remember, I’ve been an overachiever.  All throughout elementary and high school, I went from wanting to be a scientist to wanting to be a journalist.  The days of dreaming about DNA in test tubes quickly gave way to thoughts of working in a busy office environment editing news stories and meeting deadlines.  Bringing home anything less than an ‘A’ was unacceptable, and earning my Baccalaureate, Masters and then PhD was never an option; it was only a matter of being able to answer the question: “in what?” I finally decided on writing and editing because I determined it was what I liked above all else.  When college rolled around, I earned a full athletic scholarship to North Carolina State University for cross country and track.  And all throughout my undergraduate years, I thought I wanted to be a journalist.  I even did an internship for a well known, local magazine, but I soon realized that this wasn’t what I wanted to do; so through the course of taking a few electives, I transitioned into the fascinating field of Sociolinguistics and went on to earn my Masters degree in Linguistics. I set aside my applications for PhD programs when I came to the horrific realization that somewhere along the lines of having endured non-stop education from the time I was two years-old; I was burned out with school.


    The problem with most people who are unhappy in their “chosen” careers is that they are the victims of their own misery.  When I was in college, I was so determined to get that coveted sheet of paper-you know, the one that said I was a “Master of Arts” that I actually ended up losing focus of the other things around me that were important: my happiness.  I thought that having proof of an advanced degree would somehow make me happy, but in the end I was burned out and miserable…miserable because my only plan of action at that point was to immediately continue into getting my PhD, and I hadn’t exactly factored “burn out” into the mix.  And of course, as fate would have it, this all happened during my last couple of months of college.  With plan ‘A’ shot to hell and no plan ‘B’ to speak of, I knew I had to act fast otherwise I would wind up moving back home with my tail between my legs, so I did what anyone else in my situation would do: I joined the police department.

    “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    In retrospect, I can understand now how experience makes you wiser.  Going through the police academy taught me many things, mainly that I did NOT want to be a police officer for a living.  Needless to say, it was a unique experience and I certainly credit many of my friends and other officers I’ve met who are still serving the fine state of North Carolina.  But there came a point early on when I first enrolled in the police department when I thought to myself, “This is a mistake; you’re only doing this because you couldn’t find a job fast enough”.  It’s true.  I knew that I needed a job relatively quickly and the police department was hiring. 2+ 2=4, right? Wrong.  Sometimes you have to re-do the math and show your work.  I really didn’t think it through.  In fact, I even made up excuses and justified how a career in the police department might actually work out for me.  I could take my background in writing and editing, combine it with my background in sociolinguistics and maybe wind up as a detective behind a desk someday solving the world’s problems one crime at a time.  Who the heck was I kidding?

    The long hours quickly wore me down. I would come home exhausted after a 10-12 hour midnight shift and get up the very next day to do it all over again.  The work, while it was physically challenging, was not mentally challenging enough.  I found myself bored while I was at work, and then too exhausted when I came home to do much of anything else.  What little social life I did have had almost died, and I soon found myself absolutely dreading going to work.  Hardly my dream career.  My overall outlook on where my career was heading seemed bleak.  I had been applying to jobs but only half-heartedly because negative thoughts coupled with low self confidence as well as feeling trapped in my current career were heavy on the forefront.  It finally took several long talks with my boyfriend and family to realize that I was the captain of the ship, and as the captain, I needed to pick a direction and stop blowing around in the wind.  I wrote down all of the things that were worrying me, possible solutions to the problems as well as why the problems weren’t getting solved, and you know what was to blame? My attitude.

    I wish I had Known Then What I Know Now

    Having been an athlete all my life, you would’ve thought that I might have had an inkling into just how powerful a role your mental state plays in your life.  Negative thoughts are like a virus.  Once they get into your head, they have the potential to spread and multiply like wildfire.  I felt like I wasn’t in control of my career path.  I began to feel miserable and didn’t even know why. Getting out of bed every day and chanting to yourself, “I hate my job I hate my job” is bound to get anyone down.

    I think that the vast majority of people wind up in jobs or careers that they hate simply because their minds aren’t completely made up with what they really want to do.  This lack of experience lands you in a never ending circle of self-doubt, low confidence and feeling like you have to stick with whatever job you because you’re now bound by financial obligations, etc.  The key to happiness is changing your attitude.  If you’re unhappy about something- anything, assess why you feel that way.  Write it down, tell a friend.  Whatever you do, just make sure that you do something. (Karl’s note: I agree. One small step leads to another, which builds a career.) In my own struggles to get out of a dead-end career and into something more suitable, the following things have helped me:

    Be knowledgeable: Know what makes you happy.  If you don’t know, perhaps it’s time to figure it out.

    Be determined: Know what your goals are and stick to them.

    Be positive: Know that things can and typically do go wrong. Nobody is perfect, but you can be better by knowing how to more effectively handle your stress.

    Be surrounded: Know that you are not alone.  Use your resources: write down your thoughts; talk to a friend.  These things will help you.  Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage and guide you to make positive changes in your life.

    Be wise: You’re never too old to make a change, and you’re never too young to learn from your mistakes. (Karl’s note: Yes! Go for your career happiness now!)

    Janelle Vadnais is the Social Media Manager for Unlimited Web Solutions, Inc. and is the main blog writer for Create Business Growth.  You can follow her on Twitter also at ‘janellevadnais‘ or visit her on StumbleUpon.

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    If anyone is interested in writing a story or article for Work Happy Now, please contact me at karl (at), thanks.


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