I just finished my sixth week at the new job and I couldn’t be happier. I work in an environment I enjoy with people that bring their full selves to work. It’s a laid back place where jeans and t-shirts are cool. I can be myself from what I wear to how often I speak and what I speak about. I have access to senior management and my boss trusts that I’m doing what needs to be done and doesn’t require by-the-minute updates. It’s priceless and I’m thankful.
Yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had since I started working post-college. I’m close to making my second placement for a high visibility position, which is awesome in itself. But what was best about yesterday wasn’t the news of a potential placement. It was the response I got from senior leadership:
Rich. You’ve done an awesome job so far and proven yourself as our go-to recruiter. Keep up the great work and thank you so much.
I thug-teared up a bit. I wasn’t sure why at the moment, but later realized something that affirmed I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I can’t remember the last time I got such a compliment from a business executive. I’ve received positive reviews before, but they have seemed like generic encouragement for the most part. And honestly, I wasn’t in love with the work I was doing at the time. But now, I’m doing something I enjoy and take pride in and I’m seeing results. I feel accomplished and respected. But most importantly, I feel trusted and free. I don’t feel like I’m in an everlasting struggle to prove myself. People around me are taking notice and expect greatness. No faux shows of who I am. Just doing what I do. It’s awesome.
What does this mean for you? Well, these elements of what I’m experiencing are important to consider when pursuing career happiness, and more specifically, compensation. People think of compensation in dollars. How much does the job pay? Will it allow me to ball out? Can I cover my bills and have money left over? All that stuff is important. But what we often forget is that there’s more than physical monetary compensation. There’s also mental and emotional compensation. Not coming home burnt out or stressed is worth something. Knowing that your opinions matter and that your strengths will be put to good use is worth something. Being able to disconnect from work when you leave the office is money. Having a boss you connect with is everything.
So when you’re thinking about your current job or your next one, don’t just think about the money. Think about the other forms of potential compensation: freedom, trust, flexibility, and a regular sense of accomplishment. What matters to you? What gives you balance and puts you at peace? What allows you to be your full self?
Ask those questions, and if you’d like, let me know your answers. Have a good weekend.