What do you want to be when you grow up?
It’s a question most of us are asked at regular intervals from a very early age, and one to which the answer usually gets less and less ambitious as the years go by - apart from those who do actually do become astronauts.
And although money is often a driving factor behind securing a career, job satisfaction and happiness shouldn’t be overlooked. Of course you want to be financially secure, but who wants Monday morning dread to be the norm?
So how do you nail down that ideal career?
Education, education, education?
Given the hysteria that surrounds A-level results day, you could be forgiven for thinking that if you don’t quite make the cut for university, you won’t quite make the cut for a successful career.
This has made higher education the preferred choice for most young people and UCAS figures show almost 50% of students went on to higher university last year - the highest uptake ever recorded.
However, there is a growing school of thought that there is such a thing as ‘too much education’ and that many young people, not to mention the jobs market, would benefit from more vocational training.
So, it’s important you asses all of your options before you make the decision either way - and that includes considering what would make you happy in your work.
Whistle when you work
According to the City & Guilds Happiness Index - an annual survey that looks at what makes people happy in the workplace – people generally feel happiest in jobs that offer a lot of interaction with other people and are outside of the conventional office space.
Jobs that have a clearly defined outcome, or those that involve caring for others, also make for happy workers.
The top five jobs in the Happiness Index are as follows:
What’s interesting about these jobs is that they are all vocations that are centred around solving other people’s problems or making others feel better about themselves – unless you have a particularly bad hairdresser.
Another thing to note is that, save for doctors and dentists, none of these professions require a university degree but instead are all best achieved through vocational training, none more so than number two on the list, beauty therapist.
Beauty therapy is there solely to make people feel better about themselves, and even if the intrinsic pleasure of making someone else happy isn’t enough to make you want to go to work each morning, the fact that you are focussing on other people all day means you’ve no option but to forget about your own worries and concerns.
If, on the other hand, you’re sitting staring at a computer screen all day – even worse in a siloed-office space – this leaves you with plenty of opportunity to zone out and fret about the things that make you unhappy.
One of which could well be your job – among those were found to be the least happy in work were secretaries, PAs, and admin staff.
So before you decide on anything, make sure you’ve considered all of your options, and that includes embarking on a career that will make you happy!