The One Thing More Important Than Your Career

Every now and again, I like to bring you short interviews to give you a new perspective on work happiness. During my study of work happiness I have found that there are many paths to the same goal. Some people believe that loving what you do is a must, while other people believe that relationships are vital to enjoying the work that we do. Interviews are a great way to get out of your own perspective and see what other people are doing to be happy at work.

On this blog I try to push myself outside of my comfort zone to a place where I’m a little afraid. I have to admit that I was a little afraid of interviewing Penelope Trunk. Not because her blog is űber popular or because she was the CEO of Brazeen Careerist a popular career networking site.

I was afraid because of how honest she is. She wouldn’t be afraid to call me out.

She wasn’t afraid to tell me that career happiness really is a crock of shit. Her words. She actually said it a few times. She explains how we overcomplicate life in the audio interview that I posted below. You’ll just have to listen to the audio to find out why she believes so strongly in her ideals.



The Pitfalls

She is right. We expect too much and almost always feel disappointed.

What a career really comes down to is our relationships. If we work with good people and enjoy the person that we are, that’s all that matters. The tedious tasks don’t feel so torturous.

Penelope makes reference to all the business data that indicates one of the best jobs for happiness is being a janitor. This career is usually filled with good-hearted people. They feel like they are making a difference at their job. They can easily see that if they aren’t there the place would go to hell. Many of you work in an office and don’t get such instant satisfaction. You don’t see a dirty room become clean in a half hour. Most office work seems invisible. There is always more and the work is always there.

Building Lasting Relationships

I liked that Penelope said that if you don’t like the people you work with, you need to quit. I agree. Not every job or workplace you work is a good fit. Sometimes you need to cut your losses and find a better place to work.

She also said that career advice is a “crock of shit.” I love this candor. She knows that her blog is filled with career advice, but most of it won’t make you any happier. She believes that we get more value out of building a lasting relationship with our spouse than we would get from any work. I don’t totally agree with this line of thought. I believe that our jobs can help us build our emotional intelligence, which will help us become happier. I also believe that people who are happy at work are happier at home. If we are doing something that stimulates us during the work day, we treat the people better at home. We carry the good feelings home from work.

By understanding more of our needs, we are able to connect more with our work and the people in our lives. If we feel that our work is making a positive difference, we feel happier because of the influence that we have in other people’s lives. It all comes back to relationships.

My Favorite Part

My favorite part of the interview is the ending. You’ll just have to listen to it and see what we laugh about. It’s a contradiction that pulls the whole interview together.

Enjoy. I know I did.

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* Lance of the Jungle of Life and Katie of the Levity Project are trying to bring more fun and laughter into our lives. Check out what they are trying to do with car dancing videos.

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like this one too:

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