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When work is better than a day at the beach

Kareen Cox
Career Writer

You may think you would be happiest sitting on a beach or at home doing nothing every day but, the truth is, we are happiest when we are doing something useful. Finding a job or career you love will enrich your life immensely.

In reality however, there are many individuals who cannot honestly say that they like or even love their jobs and, for many others, jobs are simply a source of income, a place where they spend eight (or more) unhappy hours of their lives each day.

But, your job should be more than that. Your job should enhance your life and add value and purpose to it.

Before choosing your career, carefully evaluate your strengths, skills and talents. How can you know if you are in the right field? You can check by answering true or false to the following questions:

I feel happy when I think about my job.

I look forward to going to work each day.

I enjoy telling my friends and family about all the exciting things I'm doing at my job.

I miss my job when I'm away for any extended period.

The good things about my job far outweigh anything I want to change about it.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my work that I forget to take breaks.

I would want to do my job even if I weren't being paid.

When I'm away from work, I check my emails or phone in to see how things are going.

I feel fortunate to have my job.

I work overtime because I want to.

I feel energised when I'm at work.

The hours fly by quickly when I'm doing my job.

I don't check job ads or otherwise look for new opportunities.

If I lost my job, I would feel heartbroken, even if I wasn't worried about money.

I can imagine staying at my job for years to come.

Other identifying factors for persons who love their jobs include the fact that they feel engaged by it and believe that their jobs add meaning and value to their lives.

Research conducted in the United States shows that employees need ongoing feedback on their performance and have regularly scheduled progress discussions to be happy. They also need to have strong bonds with their co-workers and also be provided with opportunities to learn and grow.

When you find a job you love, you will find that you are looking forward to going to work each day and eager to stay beyond work hours to complete a project, experiencing as well satisfaction that will radiate through all areas of your life.

Kareen Cox is coordinator of the career resources and career development services department, HEART Trust/NTA.

To gain more meaning out of your job, ask yourself the following questions:

What does this work mean to me?

What does it mean to my clients/customers?

What does this work mean in the context of my life?

How can I give this work more meaning?

How does this work challenge me?

* Kareen Cox is a career coordinator with HEART/NTA Trust. Email
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