Make work enrich your life instead of drain your health and happiness

Was school the best days of your life or did you hate it all the time? Personally it was a struggle although there are lot’s of things I miss. But there’s one thing for sure and that school didn’t teach me - how to have a happy and fulfilling career. Because we spend so much time at work, if we are unhappy in our jobs, we will be unhappy in life. This career checklist is based on the science of what brings people job satisfaction.

Workplace happiness splits into a few key topics:

  • Work satisfaction,
  • Being in the right job and your employability,
  • Wellbeing,
  • Stress from managing others,
  • Personal achievement.
The Happy, Healthy Career Checklist Jpeg

The Happy, Healthy Career Checklist

Work doesn’t have to be a dirty four letter word because work can give you value and meaning in life. Work can grow you. Work can be where you find meaningful relationships (mentorships, colleagues, mentees). Use this career checklist to test your job satisfaction. Find out what your score is and what it means about making your work more awesome.

#1 Is your work fulfilling?

  1. I feel that I am doing important work

  2. I feel valued and my contribution is acknowledged

  3. My job uses my skills and capabilities

  4. I have the flexibility to do work the way I want

  5. I feel that I am learning and growing

  6. I see opportunity for progression

  7. I have a great relationship with my boss and colleagues

  8. My boss understand me as a person - how I am different, what my unique skills are, how I like to be treated and communicated with

  9. I have clear understanding about what is expected of me and how what I do fits into the bigger picture (for my boss, company and community)

  10. I feel that I belong where I am - There is a match between values and culture

  11. My work interests me enough that I learn more about it on a regular basis- how to do it better, staying up to date. I have a desire to become better at what I do.

Score: If you found yourself answering no to these questions then you at serious danger of hating your job. Work will be something that you do to pay the bills because you have to, not because it brings value and meaning to your life.

Actions to improve your work fulfilment

Figure out:

  • If you're in the wrong job or
  • If you need to take responsibility for finding your own work fulfilment

#2 Are you In the wrong job and what is your employability like?

First do you feel like you are in the wrong job?

The reasons for people being unhappy at work are often blamed on being in the wrong job. This includes:

  • Being in the wrong job - ie. a job description that does not suit you as a person because it doesn't use your skills,
  • Being in the wrong company - ie. mismatched culture, misalignment with company mission,
  • Having a bad boss (which is way to common. Sometimes it's a personality clash and other times it's pure incompetence) or,
  • Having dysfunctional relationships with your colleagues.

Most of this sounds like you have to change your job to fix it. And I understand that when you’re not happy in your job, you can lose confidence in your employability. Inertia and the comfort of familiarity are other factors that hold people back from finding their dream jobs. There are lot's of stories or people being fired and realising afterwards that this was the best thing that happened to them.

Tip: Before you rush off to resign, be aware that if you’re not happy in one job that doesn’t mean you will be happy in another job.

You Don’t have to change jobs to have a better job

That doesn’t mean that you have to leave your job. Sometimes it is a case of learning to love the one you’re with rather than be with the one you love. If your boss isn't a good manager you still have the power to take responsibility for managing your relationship and communications with your boss. And other ways to take responsibility for your own work fulfilment is to looks at the checklist and figure out how to improve these items without changing your job. For example - if you feel like your skills aren't used then find a project inside or outside the office that does.

What is your employability like?

Consider the following questions to determine your employability:

  1. When I apply for jobs, I usually get an interview (good CV / resume and cover letter)

  2. When I interview I get job offers (good interview skills)

  3. My skills and qualifications are in demand

  4. I can clearly and engagingly communicate who I am and what I have to offer

  5. My resume is ready for the computer with relevant key-words and is structured to pass applicant tracking systems

  6. My remuneration reflects the value I bring

  7. My network is a consistent source of job opportunities. People know what I have to offer and I have a network of people who regularly refer work to me.

  8. I know what I’m strong at compared to others. I know my behavior type and what my natural tendencies are. I recognize when my default behaviors are holding me back and I know what to adjust

Score: If you found yourself answering no to these questions then your employability is low.

I see many talented people who are frustrated because they struggle to find work that uses their skills. They are underpaid because they are in the jobs that don’t use their skills. They feel trapped in the jobs they have because they don’t have the confidence that they will find replacement work easily. And in the worst cases people who are out of work risk getting depressed because not having a job can make you feel worthless.

Work happiness includes your own employability

College teaches you how to do a job, not get a job. To get the job you want increasing your employability is one of the best investments you can make.  Being more employable means:

  1. That you will get more job interviews from your applications,

  2. You will convert more interviews into job offers,

  3. The job offers you get will be better offers and most of all:

  4. You will be better at finding jobs that suit you. Jobs that use your unique skills and abilities.

Being good at selling yourself doesn’t just mean a higher salary. Marketing yourself increases your work happiness because you’ll get a job that better matches you.

Actions to improve your employability:

Compared to the time and money people spend on their education, investing in employability get’s much better results.

This includes:

  1. Spending some time figuring out what you want to do, what your unique strengths are that are valuable to employers

  2. Getting good at communicating your value proposition to potential employers. This means having a CV that gets you interviews and interviewing like a pro (Start with a CV template that will pass Applicant Tracking Systems)

  3. Developing your network and online profile and 

  4. Improving your skills in desirable areas. In fact you should always be improving your skills because the world is changing so fast that staying still means getting left behind. Learning doesn't end when you get your qualification. (Two super user tips: 1. Get your company to fund your development and 2. Keep learning a little every week (based on the Stephen Covey sharpening your saw)

Your friends and network are a great resource for resume feedback and interview practice. But if you’re not getting results in your job search consider professional:

#3 Is your work making you unhealthy?

  1. I struggle to eat healthily because of work.

  2. Work takes up so much of my time and energy that I can’t work-out. It’s especially bad when I have to travel.

  3. I’m suffering from the symptoms of work related stress. Such as headaches, stomach ailments, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, cardiovascular stress and problems sleeping.

  4. I dread going to work and look forward to home time.

  5. I have no work-life balance

  6. There is conflict at work that I don't like (like an angry boss or colleagues)

  7. I'm suffering "Boss Stress Syndrome": see section 4 

Score: If you found yourself answering yes to these questions then your physical and mental wellbeing is being compromised by your work.

Work happiness includes your mental and physical wellbeing

Offices aren’t healthy places, from the meeting biscuits to the stress caused by shouty bosses. Have you ever jokingly said “Work is killing me”. The problem is that it’s no joke. Work stress doesn’t just cause psychological problems like depression, anxiety and irritability. Work stress causes physical problems like heart palpitations, fatigue, indigestion, insomnia and more. And let’s face it, if you are in physical bad health, mentally struggling to focus or even depressed there’s no way that you can be performing at your peak.

The first step to improving your wellbeing is awareness of the issues and the problems they cause. You can only ignore it, deny it and soldier through it for so long.

We are working longer hours and later in life than ever before. Yet we are not still not serious about taking care of ourselves in the workplace where we spend most of our waking hours.

Actions to improve your work health

Take Control of Your Wellbeing

For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. A little stress isn't a bad thing, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. There are measures you can take to stop stress from ruling your life and destroying your career. (Start with The Best Stress Management Techniques)

#4 Are your employees a source of stress?

(If you don’t manage employees skip this section)

People are complex and managing is hard. Without help it's too easy to end up with Boss Stress Syndrome. These are some of the warning signs and causes:

  1. I feel my employees don’t like or respect me

  2. I feel my employees don’t listen to what I say and they frequently don’t do what I ask

  3. My employees lack skills

  4. My employees don't take ownership for their work and aren't productive

  5. I have to work late to fix employee mistakes and cover for their shortfalls (often leading to a massive workload & overtime work)

  6. I’ve not been trained in practical skills of how to select, motivate and retain staff

  7. If I wasn’t there work would grind to a halt

Score: If you found yourself answering yes to these questions then it’s a sign that something needs to change.

Actions to Improve Boss Stress

A high score is a sign to wake up and find a better way. Because the first step to fixing something is to understand what is wrong. On the face of it you can blame all these issues on your employees. But the reality is that you are their boss and it's your responsibility to manage your employees. Employee Selection. Motivation and Retention is no-one elses responsibility but yours. But the good news is that you can "fix" these employee problems.

That’s why I started Boss Camp. Managing people is hard - especially without any formal training and practice. But managing doesn't have to be hard. Boss Camp will show you proven methods to improve employee performance that aren't difficult to learn.

#5 Are you accomplishing the things you want to?

Consider these personal productivity related questions:

  1. At the end of most days I feel that I have made progress

  2. I feel that I have sufficient skills to overcome work challenges

  3. I am regularly learning new things and getting better at what I do

  4. I have enough time in my day

  5. I am able to focus on my work amidst distractions

Score: If you found yourself answering no to these questions then you are not performing at your peak.

Personal Productivity isn’t About Intellect or Capabilities

The reason we get ourselves into a routine of poor personal productivity is because we don’t develop good productivity habits. These are things that we need to practice daily and do consistently to improve our personal performance and productivity. For example, the only way to stay fit and maintain a good weight is to make healthy eating and exercise a habit. If you only exercise now and again and consistently eat poorly then you’re not going to achieve your goals. Again this is not something they teach you in math class.

A wealth of information has been written on the art of mastering personal productivity. It’s mostly common sense. The problem is that common sense is NOT common practice. Most of the advice you’ll come across will improve your productivity. But if it doesn’t resonate with you or if it cannot be easily applied then it’s not going to lead to any tangible results.

Actions to improve personal productivity:

For a few practical, easy to implement techniques that you can start using today get the Top 5 Productivity Tips. These are grouped by some of the most common difficulties we face in the workplace today:

  • Email
  • Meetings
  • Prioritization
  • Distraction, Focus and Flow


If work is draining your health and your happiness then it’s time to find a better way to make work, work. Change starts with YOU. So if you want to work in a better place, be aware that work isn’t working right now. Be aware that there is a better way and be aware that there’s no-one else but you that is going to make it better and has the power to make it better. Change doesn’t just happen through wishes, it happens through a commitment:

  • Improve your work fulfilment without changing jobs and by taking control over Managing Your Relationship with your Boss instead

  • Improve your employability with a CV that gets you interviews, and interviewing like a pro,

  • Improve your physical and mental wellbeing by managing stress,

  • Get better employee performance and improve workplace satisfaction with proven management techniques that aren’t difficult to learn,

  • Accomplish the things you want to by improving your personal productivity.


Do you have any questions, comments or tips about managing your career? Help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

Boss Camp

I bet your staff would rather be at the beach than working hard. But you’re the poor boss who’s responsible for their work. Managing is hard. Find out how to make managing easy at WWW.BOSS.CAMP. Te program includes topics such as:

·       How to hire for performance,

·       How to motivate employees,

·       What are bad employee motivators,

·       What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,

·       How leaders get power.

Get better employee performance and make managing easy with jpeg