Is This YOUR Year to Get Career Happy?

Julie Bauke

06 February 2016

I love how Facebook throws our past in our face – sending us “memories” of what we have said and done the previous year(s). I bet that if you laid out your January and February posts from the last several years side-by-side, you’d see a distinct theme that would be filled with all sorts of “I’m doing it! Yay me! This is my year!” stuff. Whether it’s about weight loss, a new job, or doing more of some things, less of others, we are eager to share that we are finally going to DO IT! WOO! (Side note: Have you noticed how much younger everyone looks in our “memories” photos? Yikes!)

Well, the months go by quickly and here we are again.

What will be different for you this year? What will you shout about on Facebook? I think that our big changes (work, weight, health, relationships) require more than a Facebook post and yes, even more than a heartfelt declaration.

Given that according to research, approximately 70% of us are unhappy at work—and that many New Year’s declarations revolve around jobs and careers—why does that 70% number remain so high?

In my 30+ years of experience working with people to help them achieve work or career happiness, I find that it comes down to these very simple statements:

We don’t know what we want.

And even if we do, we don’t know how to get it.

So simple, yet so complex.

1. We don’t know what we want. So often, we hear “I don’t know what I want to do, but I know it’s not this.” I call that a good start! Knowing what you don’t want—and being able to state it clearly—is a key part of the process of articulating want you do want. And when it comes to clarity, consider these Not Helpful/Helpful statements:

Not Helpful: I don’t want to work with jerks anymore. (Well, who does?)

Helpful: I have found that I have been most successful at work – and I’m happiest—when I work with other businesses versus working with the general public.

Not Helpful: I don’t like working on small stuff. The bigger the problems to solve, the better.

Helpful: I really enjoy working with people across functions to solve a complex problem. For example, in my job at the XYZ Company, I had to get the buy-in of a very diverse group of colleagues to work on a product commercialization project. Not only were we successful, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

(Side note. If you are looking to build collaboration within your team or across functions, have you checked out the Healthy Team Challenge? Rockin’ weekly series with GREAT prizes!)

2. If we do know what we want, we don’t know how to get it.

There is no shortage of talk about big dreams, thinking big, going for it, etc. But when it comes to creating a path from where you are to where you want to be in your career, it can be so daunting that we throw up our hands and resign ourselves to “making it work where we are.” I spent nine years working in outplacement with people who had the decision made for them—they were laid off or fired. I was fascinated by the very large percentage of them who, upon some level of reflection, said that they didn’t like that job anyway, and that the company probably did them a favor. Wow. Talk about giving your control away!

3. Know this: waiting to get laid off to do any career planning is like waiting until you declare bankruptcy to do financial planning.

Do you recognize yourself in this post anywhere? If so, and you’re ready to get Career Happy, check out more of my posts, videos and upcoming series and webinars on the Leadercast platform that I guarantee will kick you in the seat of your “career pants” and get you in action toward finding your Career Happiness. Woo!

Finally, if you have any questions or topics around careers that you would like me to address, please visit my site or email me at


Now, take a minute to sit back and imagine what your 2017 Facebook Year in Review might say...

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Julie Bauke

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