For a career counsellor, it’s a normal question to ask… but it’s clearly new – and outlandish – to many people.
Often when I ask this, you’d think I’d just sprouted a second head, the looks I get. Like I’ve clearly lost my mind.
Fun? At work??
I’ve given this a lot of thought, and last time it happened, I went off and checked the dictionary – just to make sure I wasn’t missing something. Brought to you, courtesy of the Oxford dictionary:
Fun: enjoyment, amusement, or light-hearted pleasure.
More or less what I was thinking of, when I asked the question.
The dictionary also laid out the opposite of fun: Boredom and misery.
In other words? Many of us equate being at work with not enjoying ourselves, at best – and at worst, with being bored and miserable.
The concept of fun in our career is pretty foreign. How sad is that?
Once people realize that I’m not joking, they typically ask, is that possible? Does “fun” work exist?
And yes, it does – I’m the living proof.
I love my career – and yes, I find it fun. As a career coach, I meet a huge variety of people, hear their stories and help them create the career – and life – that works for them. I get to see the positive impact that a great career has on my clients – right across their life.
Engaging, exploring, learning… being creative, being challenged… it’s what gets me out of bed, looking forward to my day. It’s what fun work looks like to me.
And that’s the key point: fun for me.
It might be your idea of hell – your version of fun might look completely different. There is no. one. single. version, source, or definition of fun – we’re all wonderfully unique.
So, do you want a career that’s fun for you?
One you enjoy, and find pleasure in?
If you do, start by monitoring your energy. Where do you get your buzz? What brings you to life, makes you animated – what charges your batteries? What connects you to your power source?
Now, where do you lose energy? What makes you tired, drained, depleted? Start paying attention to this – write it down, keep a log, review your days and look for patterns.
Next… time flies when you’re having fun – so where does time fly for you?
What things are you doing? What skills are you using – with what kind of people? What do you do, because it’s just what you do?
From the other perspective, where does time drag? What makes the clock tick backwards for you? What’s your personal career kryptonite?
Monitor your energy and sense of time, and you start building a picture – one that can help you direct your research to careers that could tick your boxes, charge you up – and feel like fun!
A last word on fun at work – for those people who find it frivolous.
Having fun at work is not the same thing as slacking off… I can honestly say that I’ve worked far harder – brought far more of myself, worked far longer hours and gone way above and beyond – in the jobs that I’ve enjoyed, than in the ones I’ve endured.
And happily, bringing your best, working hard and going above and beyond – what people typically do, when they enjoy their work – tends to lead to career success.
Not convinced? Ask yourself: Do you work best when you’re bored and miserable? Or energized and engaged?