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Your Career: Happy vs. Satisfied

August 26th, 2015

In the last nine years people ask me how things are going with JibberJobber.  I figured out a phrase that I repeat, which is as true today as it was when I first came up with it:

“I’m happy, but I’m not satisfied.”

This phrase replaced the other response I gave, which was that I “wasn’t happy with _____” (usually, the growth of the company, users, upgrades, etc.).

In truth, I was happy… and I didn’t feel right about saying that I wasn’t happy.  And finally, I realized that while I was happy, I simply was not satisfied.

That meant that I wanted more, at the same time I appreciated what I had.  I was grateful, and ambitious.

There seemed to be a subtle difference between those two words, but since I started using this phrase, there is a huge difference.

So I ask you: where are you at with your career?  Can you appreciate, and feel grateful, for the opportunities that you have come across?  Are you happy with where you have been, and the trajectory that you seem to be on?

I encourage you to find joy in the journey (this is something that has taken me years to figure out).

That doesn’t mean you have to just sit there and grin… you can still be unsatisfied.  This doesn’t have to make you unhappy, though.

Unsatisfied means you are still ambitious, working towards the next thing.  It means you are still anxiously engaged in your career, and learning, and achieving, and mentoring.  You can be unsatisfied and still find joy in the journey.

I’ve learned that life is too short to be grumpy and feel slighted all the time.  Figure out where happiness and joy come from (they have a lot to do with attitude), and choose to be happy.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be unsatisfied.  Keep thirsting for more, and better, and work for that.  Just be happy along the way.

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