4 steps to finding a career that makes you happy
In the past two years, the UAE has blazed a new trail by placing emphasis on the happiness of its citizens. With the government declaring its intention of making UAE one of the top five happiest countries in the world by 2021, several concrete steps have been taken in this regard. This includes the creation of a Ministry of Happiness under the charge of H.E. Sheikha Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi as the minister, the rollout of a National Programme for Happiness and Positivity, and the creation of a Happiness Research Institute, among other measures.
The focus on happiness is a welcome, and path-breaking step in the government’s efforts to ensure a better quality of life for all Emiratis. Research suggests that happiness can lead to a wide range of benefits including health benefits and improved interpersonal relationships. Yet the important question remains, how does one increase the happiness quotient of a people?
Career is a major determinant in this regard, not least because of the vital role it plays—from impacting living standards to providing a sense of purpose and direction in a person’s life. Choosing the right career path is, therefore, a crucial component of a happy and wholesome life. So how do you choose a career that contributes to your happiness? Here are some tips:
- Evaluate yourself
Whether you are a recent graduate or at the crossroads of your career, start by conducting an assessment of yourself including your strengths, weaknesses, interests, soft skills, aptitude and personality type. Be objective in your assessment—there are plenty of external resources to help you with this both online and offline. If you are a working professional, but feel you’re unhappy with your job, the first step is to stop denying how you feel since it’s only when you realise there’s a problem that you will be able to find a solution.
- Examine your values
While interest, skill, pay, brand name, work environment and company culture are certainly important, what often ends up making a difference in the long term is how well your career is aligned with your values. Start by trying to understand what values are important to you, then look for jobs that are in line with those values. For instance, if truth and honesty are important to you, you could consider journalism as a career. If the idea of helping others is important, a career in the health sector or the social sector might be a good idea.
- Factor in the realities
The process of choosing a career should take into account all factors including those that don’t seem important at the moment but might become so later on. Thus, factor in things like the standard of living you aspire to have, growth opportunities in different fields, work-life balance, and long-term career goals while making a decision. Reading up, networking with people from the industry, and attending industry events and seminars are some of the tried and tested ways of gathering more information about life in any sector.
- Implement your plan
Once you’ve figured out which career is your best bet, find out about the skills and qualifications necessary to help you gain a foothold in that sector. Sign up on Monster, sound out your family, friends, social and professional circles about the type of job you want, and start sending out application to companies you’d like to work for.
In the case of working professionals, it’s advisable to start small—by pitching new ideas to your manager, requesting for a transfer, building your network, or using your free time to learn the skills for a new career, rather than taking a dramatic but uncertain leap into a new career.
Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, so take your time to analyse the pros and cons of different professions. If you still can’t figure out which career is best for you, we suggest you take our Career Orientation Test. Making a wise career choice could set you up for professional success and have a positive fallout on all other aspects of your life, helping you become a happier, more fulfilled individual.