The average person spends 90,000 hours of their life working. It would be great if we could spend those hours doing something we enjoy but for a lot of people, that seems like an unrealistic dream due to bills and financial commitments. There is no doubt that there are costs when you change careers but there could be far greater costs if you stay in a career that isn’t right for you. These costs include time you will never get back, higher stress levels, unhappiness and in extreme cases, serious health problems. Given that unemployment figures are at their lowest levels since 2008, there hasn’t been a better time to pursue what you enjoy in years.
Doing what you enjoy could help you manage stress levels
There are many physical and mental illness caused by workplace stress and a whopping 82% of workers in Ireland say they are facing increased stress due to concerns about their health and their financial well-being. Of course, doing what you enjoy won’t end your stress. You will still feel stressed but it is likely that you will be able to manage this stress better as you will enjoy what you are doing.
You will experience more flow
Flow is a state of effortless concentration, absorption and enjoyment. Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that flow, rather than happiness, makes for an excellent life. If you are working solely for a pay check and just going through the motions, you are unlikely to experience many moments of flow. Flow occurs when we face a clear set of goals that require responses that interest and/or excite us. Sports people refer to flow as “being in the zone” and if you are doing a job that you enjoy, you are a more likely to experience flow.
Doing what you enjoy could lead to more money in the end
You will be more likely to get more money and better working conditions if you develop true expertise at a task that people value. According to the Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and his co-authors, many thousands hours of deliberate and difficult practice are required to develop true expertise. Becoming a true expert at something is so challenging that you are unlikely to expend the necessary effort unless you are doing something that you really enjoy.
You could enjoy the rest of your life more
It can be hard to keep your work-life and personal-life in totally separate silos. If you are not enjoying your job, this is likely to spill over into your personal life. 54% of people have said work related stress has caused them to fight with people they love. This is particularly relevant in the digital world of smartphones and laptops where our work and personal lives seem to blend more closely together than ever before.
Developing a career plan
It’s important for your life that you develop a career plan. You will need to take into account, not only money and opportunity levels but also factors such as what you find interesting and exciting. When you give these factors sufficient weight, you are more likely to get a job that you will enjoy.
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