Use the “3 P’s” to Discover Your Career-Life Bull’s-eye

By Kevin on August 25, 2011 in career

Most People are Deeply Unhappy at Work

According to the Conference Board, job satisfaction is at a record low and one out of three workers are hoping to find a new job in the year ahead.

Many still find it hard to believe but money alone doesn’t lead to happiness. The big corner office, black foreign car and big title can still leave you feeling empty. Ask most of the 40-something year old professionals how happy they are. (I actually know more ex-lawyers than happy working lawyers.)

Mommy and Daddy Were Wrong

You can be very successful in a profession, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will find it fulfilling and engaging.

In fact, many end up in careers without much thought going into it. Many follow in the footsteps of their same-sex parent, becoming a doctor, lawyer or other professional. Others, without direction in college, take the first good paycheck to come their way and never look back.

Others may know the career they desire but feel that it’s out of their reach.They think they’re too old to switch.

Working For the Weekend Is Not the Answer

We now have a workforce of Zombies…dazed, unhappy, and bored creatures drooling through meetings, making copies, counting down the hours. We accept our fate because somewhere along the way we though a “good job” was about good pay and security. We thought we could do our 40-hours (like a little weekly prison sentence) and then have a great time at night and on the weekends. I mean, it’s called “work” for a reason right?


Your Bad Job = No Sex + Bad Kids + Death From Heart Attack

Psychologists call it the spillover and crossover effects. Your emotions at work, good or bad, spillover to your personal life and cross over to those around you. Did you know:

  • Dissatisfied workers are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or other cardiovascular event according to a Swedish study published in 2009
  • Dissatisfied workers experience less “marital intimacy” according to a 1985 NYU Study
  • The children of dissatisfied workers are more likely to misbehave in school, according to a 1996 Queens University study

You see? It’s impossible to have a great fulfilling life–on nights and weekends–when you are disengaged 9-to-5.

Discover Your Career-Life Bull’s-eye

To get that deep feeling of engagement in your career you need to find the intersection—the bull’s-eye—of three very important things:

1)    Passion—what are you truly passionate about? What is your ultimate dream?

2)    Purpose—where do you want to serve? In what area do you want to make a contribution?

3)    Pay—what can you earn a living doing? What standard of living will you choose?

You may have several answers for each of these questions, but the intersection of the answers is what you’re after.

For example, you might enjoy being a coffee-house barista, but if you are a single Mom to two kids you might not be able to pay your bills with that career choice. You might be passionate about writing poetry and love supporting youth, but if being a poet can’t support you financially then poetry should probably be left as a hobby rather than a career. On the other hand, if your passion is poetry and you enjoy working with children, then—depending on your financial needs—maybe you can become an English teacher or poetry professor.

The Hardest Work–Discover Your True Career Potential

Discovering your Career-Life Bull’s-eye is hard work and takes a lot of introspection. In fact, it might take years to truly discover it, and may even change over time. But the stakes are high; what you are losing, and what you can gain, is nothing less than your happiness, health and relationships.

Ready to begin?

Note: This blog was adapted from the NY Times bestseller, We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement.


Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. Get more success and tips from his newsletter at and check out keynote video clips. His new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, teaches managers how to turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

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