Are you having a career development slump? Are you hoping to discover newfound happiness in your work that you feel is eluding you? You are not alone. However, not everyone believes that the search for happiness will give productive results. A recent article by Oliver Segovia questions whether anyone can truly find happiness simply by following the path of pursuing what we love alone.
This is an especially relevant question for the millennial generation that has been “proselytized to pursue our dreams,” and is now graduating from college with degrees they may love but without job prospects or financial security. Segovia says, “Like myself, today’s twentysomethings were raised to find our dreams and follow them. But it’s a different world. And as the jobless generation grows up, we realize the grand betrayal of the false idols of passion.” As the millennial generation enters the workforce and finds themselves employed in nine-to-five jobs that fall short of the perfectly fulfilling and flexible, creative and cushy jobs they might have once imagined, it is important to consider the sources of happiness in the workplace.
Segovia thinks that it is unwise in today’s economy to focus on passion alone to fuel career development or career contentment. His advice to the millennial generation, and to every generation, is:
“Forget about finding your passion. Instead, focus on finding big problems. Putting problems at the center of our decision-making changes everything. It’s not about the self anymore. It’s about what you can do and how you can be a valuable contributor. People working on the biggest problems are compensated in the biggest ways. I don’t mean this in a strict financial sense, but in a deeply human sense. For one, it shifts your attention from you to others and the wider world. You stop dwelling. You become less self-absorbed. Ironically, we become happier if we worry less about what makes us happy.”
Segovia sees a path to happiness in looking for ways to serve outside in the world rather than focusing our time on introspection and finding our elusive inner selves. Basically, according to Segovia, “We don’t find happiness by looking within. We go outside and immerse in the world…Happiness comes from the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, and what the world needs.” He sees the focus on happiness or passion alone as being detrimental to one’s career development and possibly detrimental to one’s long-term happiness.