Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Curious about Career Contentment?

“I’ve done this for 10 years,” says Irene Tse, the 34-year-old head of the government bond-trading desk at Goldman Sachs. “And I can count on the fingers of one hand the days in my career when I didn’t want to come to work. Every day I wake up and I can’t wait to get here.”

I am curious about how many others feel this way about their careers.

I found this in the April 2005 issue of Fast Company, as part of an article about people with “extreme jobs.” These are jobs described as having 80-hour weeks, endless travel and high stress. But, they are also jobs that the people who have them, love them. They push themselves to the limits of their intellectual and physical endurance. Yet they seem to be having the time of their life.

As John Byrne, Editor, writes about his job, “My work is a true reflection of who I am, a calling that gives back far more than I invest. It demands as much as or more than I am often capable of giving. And that challenge is a thrill.”

Nearly 60% of all American workers believe that working long hours creates too much stress and cuts too much into time they could be spending elsewhere. A whopping 76% say they get more enjoyment from the hours when they’re not on the job.

I, a believer in doing what we love instead of just working for a paycheck in a job that we dislike (or even hate), feel sad when I read and hear statements like those in the previous paragraph.

Yes, as Paul Spector, professor of industrial and organizational psychology
at the University of South Florida, points out, “There are studies that look at the impact of work hours on health, and two that link it to heart disease… But here’s the kicker: In order to pay the price, it has to be a job where you’re forced to work hours that you don’t want to…The data suggest that people who are doing it because they want to are perfectly fine.”

How do you feel about this? I know that I love what I do (every part of my “Portfolio Career”), so I feel quite like Irene Tse. I wake up every morning excited about starting all over again.

And, yes, I do work an “extreme” number of hours and sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed with all I need to accomplish. And yet it seems more like fun and play than work. And, yes, because I have so many different careers, I have to be cautious about becoming scattered in too many directions. I ask myself, however, what are “too many directions?”

I just hope that you enjoy what every day brings you, because you have a career or careers you love. I do look forward to reading your comments.

And, if you are curious about “Portfolio Careers” and wonder if you would love having one, do take the self-test by clicking HERE.