Insight News

Feb 07th

Satisfying work creates freedom

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stockvault-corridor-sky104567After years of repetitive work, Albi is living in the land of opportunity and feeling pretty much like a prisoner in a jail he built himself. He makes a decent living, provides for his family, relaxes on the weekends. And is dying. Of boredom. He'd rather do something else, but changing careers at this point would mean risking that decent living, the comfort of his family and those relaxing weekends. For Albi, retirement can't come soon enough. And when it does, what then?

Freedom is not about doing what we want all the time; it's about making choices about what we'll do next, and what we'll do after that, depending on the circumstances. When our founding fathers took on the British a couple centuries ago, they were not sure how it would go. You can read about Paul Revere's famous ride, and how he let people know where the challenge would come from by hanging one or two lights in a window. The plan was to display one light if the challenger was arriving by land. The backup plan was to show "Two if by sea." The people involved knew what they would do either way.

If Albi is going to broker his own freedom, freedom from endless days in dead-end jobs, he is going to need a backup plan.

Albi has been in the same position for a long time, apparently successfully. That means he is probably good at it, and he probably likes some aspects of it. Focusing on what is working will help Albi see his next steps.

Daydreams are common among the unchallenged. What is Albi daydreaming about? What would he rather be doing, over what he's doing now? If he would rather be playing in the World Cup over driving a city bus, there are ways to do that. Some daydreams are closer to reality than others, though, so Albi will want to keep that in mind.

Let's say Albi is driving a bus. And let's say he's obsessed with sports. Perhaps he could make the connections that would lead to a job driving a team vehicle. His backup plan might include keeping his current job, and using his vacation time or weekends off to drive the team around. If it leads to more responsibility with the team, great. If not, he will still have his day job, along with some really great stories to help him pass the time.

Career freedom happens when most of the work we do most of the time is mostly satisfying. Ups and downs happen; not every day is a party. But not every day has to be prison-like, either. When a career shift happens gradually, springing up naturally out of something that is already working, it can be liberating. Creating a plan, and a backup plan, will lead Albi to the freedom of a more fulfilling career and, it follows, a more interesting retirement when retirement comes around.

Julie Desmond is IT & Software Engineering Recruiting Manager with George Konik Associates. Send your comments and questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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