Find your recipe for career happiness and success

"The ability to be creative is another important ingredient in my recipe for a happy career."

I was thinking about my past work experiences on my daily commute recently and surprised myself when I realized that my lower paying, hard working, easier-to-land fast food-type jobs were much more enjoyable and fulfilling than working the often sought after 9 to 5 job.

As a student nearly entering the (real) working world, I have become determined to discover what I have enjoyed about my past jobs and identify what I can do to make sure those qualities are present in a future, more permanent job.

Job-seeking students are constantly thinking about what we can offer a potential or current employer. While building an excellent resume is essential for us, building a personalized and idealized future career description should also be a priority.

As students, we are in an excellent position to work various jobs at a point in our working lives when a lack of job consistency is understood by employers. We have the luxury of returning to school and reflecting on the good and bad parts of our working experience. Regardless of the new job skills we learn in each role, some of the most valuable things we learn are our likes and dislikes in the work place.

Whether or not we’re able to obtain a job in the field we might want to work in, we can still identify work environments, locations and every day tasks we love or hate to do. For example, working in the service industry may not give you the skills to become an accountant or journalist, but you may realize that you love working the irregular hours that a journalist may encounter as opposed to the 9 to 5 office hours of a regular business.

I’m currently dreading the repetitiveness and daily commute to Toronto required for my current summer position. On the other hand, I love working in the city of Toronto and would consider working (and living) in a city an important element of my future career. I know I don’t like repeating the same task on a daily basis and the ability to be creative is another important ingredient in my recipe for a happy career.

A summer of an unenjoyable work place, working hours or every day job tasks will seem like a moment in time in comparison to an unhappy career. Take time to reflect on your work experience. Learning little things about what you love and hate in a job can be extremely valuable on your journey towards a happy and rewarding career.