Career Satisfaction: Happiness, Purpose, and Autonomy

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Peter Diamandis, author of Bold and Abundance believes that there are three components necessary for happiness and success: purpose, autonomy, and mastery.  Diamandis has led a career filled with happiness and success (see X Prize).

Purpose: Most work has drudgery.  The “why” you work will get you through the challenging parts of your day.  Years ago, I was an intern for the US Attorney’s office.  My job was to review microfiche in order to find evidence against a corrupt politician.  For those too young (and fortunate!) to have never reviewed microfiche, consider looking at a movie one frame at a time. But I still liked going to work. “I’m helping to catch a Congressman take a bribe” was the why and that got me through the day.

Autonomy: One of my clients, Stacy, had what many would consider a wonderful job situation.  She worked at her family’s thriving company. She felt purposeful.  Her grandfather had started the company and she derived meaning in knowing that she was helping to keep the family legacy going into the future.  She also felt like she was good at her job as a sales rep (a reasonable amount of mastery, see below). The problem was that both Stacy’s father and sister micromanaged her.  Given the relationships, this dynamic was not going to change anytime soon so Stacy grew miserable at her work, despite having both purpose and mastery in her job.

Mastery: Being great a job provides both security and satisfaction.  I have written before about Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the brilliant documentary of the world’s top sushi chef.  What about your work do you dream about mastering?

Go through your job.  How does it rate on the Purpose, Autonomy, Mastery score card?