October 19, 2012 by Ashleigh Brock
Welcome back from Fall Break! The pace of life in the Career Center slows a bit during breaks, so I used some of the quiet time on campus to read a very interesting book by Tom Rath and Jim Harter called Well Being: The Five Essential Elements. The book explores a central question: what differentiates a thriving life from one spent suffering? To answer this simple, yet compelling question, Gallup research scientists undertook a comprehensive global study of well being, surveying people from 150 different countries about what “the best possible future” would look like for them.
This research identified five key elements of well being that affected whether those surveyed were thriving, struggling or suffering: financial well being, social well being, community well being, career well being, and physical well being. Career well being rose above the others as the best predictor for people’s overall wellness and their ability to not only survive, but thrive.
Putting career at the top of a hierarchy of things that affect our wellness may seem unusual, especially given that physical and financial well being were also on the list. But more than any other choice you make, your decision about how to spend what amounts to the majority of your waking hours every day vastly outpaces the other factors in terms of overall happiness and satisfaction with life.
I can’t agree more with these assertions. The career path you choose can be either a tremendous blessing or a curse, affecting every other area of your life. This is not to say that your first job needs to be perfect, or fit your passions in every way; only that you have to like it enough to be positive about going to work every day. That positivity trickles down and into every other facet of your experience. If you hate your job, you’re more likely to bring that negativity to your personal life, straining your relationships, mental health, and physical well being. Liking or feeling satisfied with what you do allows you to bring positivity to those other areas instead, which can totally change how you perceive the rest of your world.
The career search is about finding a career path that fits, and that satisfies you. Although asking and answering deep, difficult questions about what’s right for you is daunting in college and much more challenging than just polishing your resume or scanning through job descriptions, it’s totally worth doing. Take time to explore your options and identify those that are best suited to you. You’ll be healthier, happier, and more satisfied in the long run because you did.