„This project is hell“, my colleague concludes. Many months the whole team is working hard. Some meetings are okay, most of the meetings are hard – sarcasm raises to a peak to deal with the daily nonsense.
A few years later, 50% of the team is still doing a career in consulting, and the other 50% went into a more regular job. If everybody was happy at this point, the decisions were fine. But unfortunately, the cap in learning curve and slower promotion cycles in a corporate position hit hard on the colleagues choosing this new path.
As I have seen these pathways again and again, I was wondering what let people choose one or the other way. And ultimately – what made people happy in a job that contains hard times, too!?
What I have seen so far, people falling in love with the process instead of the results generate by far higher resilience in hard working conditions. It isn’t so much that they like the pain, but they can find certain aspects within the stressful moments that still can be enjoyed. They do not go to work to reach the next promotions. They rather like the way their job challenges them, how they interact with colleagues and clients as well as how results are being achieved.
If you have chosen an intense workplace with challenging topics and long working hours only for the paycheck and chances of promotions, you soon realize that this won’t work. In stressful times, the next promotion is not an inspiring goal because it is way too far away to motivate you. If you are tired and fed up, a promotion would just mean you get more responsibility for the very same thing you already hate. If you hate every minute of your daily doing, the paycheck every month doesn‘t bring happiness.
What are the ingredients for a happy longterm career path?
The next few lines are written, assuming you are in a role that is set out for a career that requires extra miles and investment in terms of your time, character as well as mindset and opens doors to rooms that you really want to enter. If you know that your path is leading to a destination you want to reach, start finding the moments, colleagues, processes and conditions that you love – despite of people, situations and topics that you might not like. The little positive things fuel your happiness and you can continue your journey even if you are bad conditions every once in a while.
If you rather feel like leaving your current environment, find out in which roles you would like to be in a couple years from now. And choose a position, mentor, city, country, role accordingly. Many aspects we don‘t like in our first few years after university will change over time as our role emerges. Therefore, be aware what you don‘t like about your current role and find role models who are a few years ahead of you. Are they having the same challenges or is the role you see them in more attractive? If you actually like what you see, it might be worth continuing to walk the current path and start falling in love with the process.