10 Jun Don’t worry, be happy
In the recent research we commissioned looking in to the job satisfaction of UK adults, what we actually wanted to find out was what factors were contributing to how happy – or unhappy – someone was and whether or not any of these could be traced back to how they made their choices at the start of their careers.
With what’s being reported in the media currently, it’s perhaps not too shocking that over a quarter (26%) of those working in the retail industry are actively looking for new jobs. Neither is it surprising that more than a fifth (21%) of workers in the healthcare sector are doing the same thing. Fact is, there will always be reasons why people are unhappy in their jobs whether it’s the working conditions, the people they work with or just because the sun is shining and they’d rather be doing something else entirely.
But when we start to dig in to the detail, there are a few indications that the causes of dissatisfaction with how things have turned out at work might actually be rooted in some of the choices we make as early as the days back at school or college. For example, nearly one in ten people specifically blame the fact that they chose to study the wrong subjects which has limited their career options. The same proportion of people also said that the careers advice they received was ‘poor’ and has had a similar effect.
The problem with this latter point is that when someone asks you to think about the careers advice you had at school, the tendency is to think only of the few minutes you may or may not have had in the careers ‘cupboard’ with a careers adviser (well, if that’s how you remember it, it’s never going to be good is it?). We need to acknowledge that there are so many great experiences which happen at school or college which contribute to our career learning but we all find it hard to learn from things which are ad hoc and unconnected. This is a point raised in a report by the University of Derby looking at how the use of online careers tools can help to integrate these experiences and ensure that they have a positive impact on the decisions we make about our future.
So what leads to job happiness? Well it turns out that the people we meet early on in our lives play a huge part. And it’s parents that top the list with over a third (33%) of adults saying that their choice of career was most influenced by mum or dad. Careers advisers, teachers and characters from TV, films and books all get a mention too. The point is, to make sense of all the information out there (and there is a lot of it – particularly for the digital self-service generation of young people in schools today) role models and access to people is unquestionably a key factor in making better choices.
Like the quarter of adults in this research (24%) I could say that I fell in to the job I do today and I’m in the ‘happy at work’ camp. But throughout my ‘fall’ to work, I’ve always relied on my awareness of my own strengths and weaknesses and tried to do the things I enjoy.
Whether you’re looking for your first or fiftieth job, why not see which ones suit you best?