Finding Joy and Fulfillment in the Corporate World
I can’t believe it’s almost a year since I’ve left the workforce. At times, I still wonder if I’ll ever be back in the corporate world. I really found joy working in my previous company, and learned a lot too. I’m really grateful that I’ve had 11 years of joyful working experience before transitioning to a new chapter of my life.
To celebrate my 1st year anniversary of being out of the corporate world, I decided to look back on some realizations that made significant impact in my working experience. These are the things that I’ve figured out throughout my career, sometimes through the hard way, but nevertheless shaped me as the person I am today. Hopefully, this helps other employees out there, who are seeking joy and fulfillment in their current work.
Always strive to create value
When I started my career in the IT industry, it was very challenging to find fulfillment in what I do as I deal with incident tickets, monitoring tasks, and technical issues day in and day out. I initially thought this industry is not for me. But as I got to understand the needs of the business and clients, I started to see the value in what I’m doing (no matter how menial it was) and consequently, found a sense of fulfillment.
As I progressed, I started to take on more responsibilities that increased my sense of fulfillment at work. But I also fell into the trap of being “busy” that I operated in reactive mode - attending meetings where I have zero participation, answering emails for the whole day, and executing tasks blindly just because I was told to do so.
What I realized is this. Whenever I did things that I know will create value for my personal growth, for the customers I serve and the organization I belonged to, I felt fulfilled, productive and happy. On the other hand, empty tasks and engagements made me feel unfulfilled and unhappy..
Many times, we get so caught up in our daily tasks that we execute things we don’t totally understand for the sake of fulfilling our roles. The peril of this is overlooking the value we create for ourselves and others. We simply waste our time and effort over something we could have found joy in doing.
So always strive to create value in whatever you do. Before starting any work, pause and ask yourself what value you can add to a certain meeting, task or problem. Ask yourself why are you doing what you are doing and you’ll start to see the fulfillment and joy at work.
Intention creates reality
Most of the considerations I hear from employees at work is, they’re afraid to voice out or do something because they fear that people might judge or misunderstand them. I used to tell my colleagues to set their intention and do things in alignment with their intention. Our intention creates our reality. Whatever we intend, will happen. Whatever we intend, other people will feel and see.
For example, if your intention for voicing out an idea is to improve a certain work process, then you will say it in a way that will encourage people to listen and give their thoughts to reach the goal. But if your intention for voicing out is to boast your idea or undermine people, then you’d probably get a bunch of people disagreeing or defending instead of focusing on the issue at hand.
So the next time you feel scared to voice out or do something of value at work, remember that as long as your intention is pure and good, it will manifest that way. Don’t ever worry about other people’s judgement - because the only one that matters is of those who truly trust and respect your intention.
There’s no such thing as work life balance
I once volunteered to create a training about “work life balance” after our workforce survey resulted in poor ratings on this aspect. While doing some interviews for the content of the training, I got this response from one of our key leaders. He said that he doesn’t believe in “work - life - balance”. He further explained that, we only have ONE LIFE, and WORK is part of that life. What we balance is how we choose to spend our time in that life. This completely changed my outlook at work.
It is true. Most of us don’t feel as excited at work as to when we are with friends and family. Most of us like to separate work from our “life” when in fact, it is part of it. Think about it, can we really compartmentalize our life, and say that part of it, well, big part of is not really “life”?
When I started to see my work as part of the 24 hours of life given to me each day, my attitude significantly shifted. What used to be boring meetings turned to be a venue for me to listen and voice out my thoughts. Routine email became a chance for me to reach out and brighten someone’s day.
So try to change your perspective about work. How do you choose to spend at least 8 hours of your life at work? Why not choose to celebrate life at work and see how it can be a joyful experience for you too?
Be Coached and Mentored
Most importantly, the key to a joyful working experience is to get a mentor you trust and respect. When I was new in my career, all I cared for was getting recognition, salary increases, and having friends at work. But I realized that all those I cared for are short term factors for me to stay and be happy in the organization. It was my mentors who showed me how I can create more value in the organization, provided me with honest feedback out of good intention, and coached me to be a better person in and outside of work.
I don’t think I would have stayed 11 years in the corporate world and found joy in what I was doing if without the guidance of my mentors. It is because of them that I also discovered my passion for helping other people live a more joyful life.
Even though I’ve decided to leave my corporate job, I still believe that it is a great venue to find and experience joy if you are currently in one. It is where I’ve discovered myself, utilized my God-given gifts, and touch other people’s lives.
I really hope you find your fulfillment and joy wherever you are, in whatever you do. Remember that work is just another part of our life where we are given a wonderful space to give and and receive joy.