May 15, 2008
Who wants to be a millionaire? An intro to Nine to Thrive
This may come as a shock, but according to a new Pew Research Center study, only 13 percent of Americans say being filthy rich is a top priority for them. On the flip side, 67 percent placed having enough free time for their personal pursuits high on their priority list. Succeeding in their career, having a family, and doing volunteer work also ranked high on the lists of the 2,400 adults polled nationally in this 2008 telephone survey.
This got me thinking about what motivates us to do the work we do. Sure, some are in it for the money and prestige. Others for a genuine love of the job and desire to help others. Still others like their flexible work arrangements. Or they need the health plan and a way to pay the stack of bills on the kitchen table. A friend of mine back in college once took a job just so she could be close to a guy she had a crush on.
For some people, these reasons work. For others, they don't. I've seen the studies on career satisfaction and work/life balance in America. (Heck, I've got an entire file of them on my hard drive.) Since I'm a glass half full person, I like to think that we're doing reasonably well on the "liking what we do for a living" front. Even when 50 percent of us are griping about our jobs, the other 50 percent are not.
Whether you enjoy or simply tolerate your job, the reality is that the average full-time employee spends a minimum of a bazillion hours a year working (okay, 1800). So whatever your reason for doing the job you do -- or looking for a new one -- you might as well do your darnedest to make the most of your work life.
That's where Nine to Thrive comes in.
I've been writing about careers and job satisfaction for several years. And I know that if there's one thing people love to talk about, it's how to make working work. Nine to Thrive is here to tap into this conversation. Each week, I'll highlight news, trends, research, legislation, and local events of interest to job hunters and passion seekers. I'll corner those lucky souls who've successfully transitioned into a career they thrive on and ask them how they did it. And I'll offer up as many tips on career satisfaction as I can and ask you to weigh in with tips of your own.
Consider Nine to Thrive your break room for hashing out the latest and greatest on leading a more balanced worklife and finding passion in your career. Like any virtual water cooler, Nine to Thrive is an interactive community. Everyone has something to say about how they earn a living and their tricks for staying happy and whole in the process. So I encourage you to contribute your comments, suggestions, news of local events and trends on the work/life balance front, and anything else you'd like to share.
Now, in the spirit of swapping gossip around the virtual water cooler, I'd love to hear what you think of this Pew Research Center study about what we working stiffs hold the most near and dear in life. What motivates you to get up Monday mornings? In other words, what's the best thing about your job? Is it the paycheck? Your co-workers? The impact you have on the local community? Do tell. Inquiring minds want to know.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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