Always, I have been intrigued by the stories of other people’s lives. What kind of experiences drove them to action and why they took the specific action at that certain moment. Lately, I notice that I am especially interested in the stories of people that changed course in their careers. Probably because I recently changed course myself. As people indulge in social comparison, I am one of those people.
The level of happiness during change
Some start in their’ mid twenty’s/ early thirty’s. Others are a bit older. It seems to be a rage, to completely change course. Give up your career to find your purpose or do the thing you absolutely love. But I wonder, do people really become happier? Do they have a more meaningful live or ‘find their purpose’? And, if driven by action, does the eventual level of happiness differ if the decision was forced or if it was a conscious choice?
Experiences that thrive changes
I started my own little research and talked to ‘these people’. No matter what the decision was, it was usually driven by an impactful life experience or change. As life is unexpected as we know, at some point we all encounter an impactful experience or change. Divorce, death, disease, resigning your job. But also positive, like marriage, buying a house, birth of a child and getting your first career bonus. The way we deal and reflect upon these changes, can make us change course. Funny thing however, is the more negative the experience, the more impactful the change is they make afterwards and the bigger the urge for meaning-making in their working lives.
Something else I wondered was, do they eventually become happier by doing meaningful work? Much research done in this area shows that on the longer term, saying years of meaningful work does give them a happier life. But is this meaningful work then also their purpose, or calling so to say? That is something I am still wondering.
It’s all about the journey
Another thing I found out is that the path towards doing a meaningful job is not that easy. Yes, it is easy to quit a job and choose for a meaningful life, but to be in a sort of limbo, taking small steps, not really seeing results but knowing this is the best path but still doubtful, this is the path I mean. And I believe, it is crucial to take this path to make a successful meaningful life.
I recently found out during a program I follow of people that quit their jobs and looking to find another career (some forced, some by conscious choice). We answered questions like ‘what is your personal why’? And “who defines you?”. “Is what you tell, also what you show and vice versa?” What I found out, is indeed, the journey towards a meaningful job is not easy. But it is already a meaningful road to take by itself and a life changing experience. When I am writing this down, I personally believe, it is crucial to stay on this path to a meaningful life. To always make a journey is something that makes me happy. I do need a purpose though, and that is what I have by creating my own business. Therefore, this risk I took and making the change gives me the feeling of power, joy and happiness.
Where are you on this journey? Tell me your story – Simone Mortier