happy career

Embrace.  The dictionary describes this seven-letter word as, “an act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically.” Throughout every professional’s career, there are numerous stages that are positively embraced with open arms and a megawatt smile: The job offer, promotion, raise, title change, etc.

But in the years spliced between each of these hard-earned achievements is the sweat, tears, sleepless nights, frustrations and moments of hopelessness that can entice us to ignore the present and fantasize about what could be.

While it’s easy to daydream about fast-forwarding to career stability, a position of leadership and the “this one’s on me” paycheck, so many of life’s virtues — including confidence, cooperation, determination, enthusiasm, excellence, optimism and perseverance — can be honed and mastered in the mundane clicking of the mouse, creation of spreadsheets and monotonous tasks if each day-to-day is embraced for all that it is. Oftentimes, our imagined destinations are a romanticized fairytale of what we hope could potentially exist in our futures. When the going gets rough, it can be easier to ignore the here-and-now and move forward in a falsified futuristic state of mind versus living in the tangible present.

While hopes and dreams are healthy, necessary and vital to human well-being, happiness is impossible to achieve if hinged on a fantasy. Have the vision, dream the dream and pursue the goal, but be intentional about enjoying the seconds, minutes and hours that make up the days, months and years of life that have been gifted to you. Rather than viewing your career selfishly with a “What can I get from this place?” mentality, be deliberate about cultivating a positive work environment, uplifting employees around you, establishing friendships and applying constructive criticism with the goal of becoming a well-rounded team member. (Down the road, you may work with those employees at another company, so strive for harmonious connections in the workforce.)

 While hopes and dreams are healthy, necessary and vital to human well-being, happiness is impossible to achieve if hinged on a fantasy.

If we only allow happiness to be attained when career successes are printed on our resumes or when the dollar amount deposited in our bank account increases, then we are forcing out the small joys that can be found and embraced in life’s tiny moments.

Let’s make it our goal to view life and our careers as a map. Each person has been given a different set of directions; there will be twists and turns, ups and downs, and people that we meet along the way. Let’s trade in our tunnel vision perspective with its idealized destination for bright eyes and open minds that want to take in every opportunity for the sake of growth and character-building. Let’s be women who embrace the journey and don’t settle for mere figments of our imagination.

What can you take advantage of in this “present moment” of your career?

Image via Lee Vosburgh



  1. Thank you for this wonderful article. I’ve been struggling a bit with recent changes in the way I make my living and although I started this with all the intention of “knowing myself outside my comfort zone” it has been daunting and tiring, specially because I have tried to nourish my quality for being and showing love and kindness and sometimes the world ask us to be “less loving” and more tough. This reminded me again why I am doing this, because I want to know myself better and expand; and as you said “for the sake of growth and character-building”. It gives me hope that I am in the middle of the road, still figuring out my map for life and while I may not know all the steps, if I see things in a positive way and choose to be present in what I am creating and learning here I will find my way and enjoy every single step of the journey.

    Once again, thank you.

  2. While I think this piece was written with a well-intentioned spirit, I don’t find it particularly effective for its intended audience. Just telling someone to appreciate “the little,” or “tangible” moments of life is not helpful in quelling most of life’s financial and emotional stress: you can’t simply demand someone to feel a different way. I think this article lacks the deeper and more nuanced consideration of why younger generations’ burgeoning careers create anxiety. If this piece had more cultural context, it would not have felt so vapid. And frankly, for a magazine of Darling’s stature, writing a piece that uses a dictionary definition as a “hook” seems very immature.

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