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4 Steps for Unlocking Career Fulfillment

True career fulfillment can be puzzling—yet not impossible to find. What many people don’t realize is that it’s a process that takes work and patience. 


Most importantly, we need to search for it. If you’re lucky, you’ll find not just a job or career but a mission.


Cover image source: Liz and Mollie

Author: Pin Cher, Career & Clarity Coach

Here are four key steps that will help you unlock the career fulfillment  you deserve:


1. Don’t stick with your career just because you’re good at it

crossroads sign silhouette in front of a sunset


So many people feel that they have invested so much time and money into their current careers that it’s not worth considering a new path. Wrong!


The key to finding true career fulfillment is identifying the intersection of what you enjoy, what you are good at, and what you can get paid for. 


If you’re great at something that you can’t bear, that’s a recipe for career disaster. 


Instead of filling you up with joy, happiness, and positive energy, your job is going to suck the life (and joy) out of you.


2. Find a career that aligns with your personal values

 rows of people working on their laptops in an open plan office


To cite Jane Jackson, career management coach, “values guide us – when we don’t acknowledge them and follow them, we veer away from the path to happiness and fulfillment”


If there’s a big misalignment between your values and that of your employer, it will create a sense of emptiness, meaninglessness, and frustration.


Let me use the example of a fast-paced sales environment. Let’s say that the company puts a strong emphasis on long working hours, and prioritize employees who are able to and with employees under the pump and hit their monthly sales targets. 


“This will suit professionals who place a high value on competitions and challenges. They will enjoy the thrill of the chase and will be energized in this environment”, Jane Jackson explains. 


“However, if there are professionals in the same role who value security, work-life balance, and family happiness above all else, this high-pressure sales environment will go against their core values. They likely feel stressed, unhappy and eventually burn out.”


A scenario like this will only create stress that eventually will accumulate into career disappointments, irritation, and resentment. 


Your values define your priorities, so doing a job that aligns with your values means you feel more content, happier, and fulfilled.


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3. Accept that career paths are not linear

the non-linear path of success


Many of us were led to believe that to be successful. Our careers should follow a pragmatical and predictable path. 


Our well-meaning parents, teachers, and advisors strongly advised us to pick a lane, earn a practical degree (or maybe two), and get a job. 


From there, we shall work hard and climb up the corporate ladder.


If you're lucky enough to have a career that works out that way, it's great! 


But what happens when you find yourself wanting to deviate from that prescribed path?


What I have learned is while there's nothing wrong with a more traditional career approach, it's by no means the only way.


Career paths nowadays become non-linear. We see workplaces with employees who have jumped between roles, industries, and even sectors on the journey towards their dream job; we are a population of ladder-climbing obsessors, no longer!


We are still haunted by the past, with past generations growing up in the traditional system constantly reminding younger workers that their zigzag technique in life is bad. 


However, some of us need to try out a few positions, learn a myriad of skills, and test the waters before finding the perfect fit. 


The fact is, along your journey, you’re constantly advancing your abilities and enhancing your prospects, building up your skills, and experiencing a whole variety of different environments, people, and workplaces. 


In turn, making yourself more knowledgeable and, subsequently, more valuable to future employers.


This all creates growth opportunities and new potential for career fulfillment.


4. If you want to work for yourself, just do it and try it out!

woman holing a “like a boss” mug


There’s never been a better time to consider starting your own business or company. 


Many people fear taking the leap of faith because of the perceived risks, or perhaps they think they are too old. In reality, the opposite is quite true. 


A study by the Kauffmann Foundation has revealed that entrepreneurs starting businesses mid-career were five times more likely to enjoy success five years later, compared to entrepreneurs who started businesses right out of university. 


It’s more a question of mindset. The number one thing to remember is that starting a business is like having a baby—there never really is a perfect time.


According to my favourite author, Simon Sinek, in his book Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team, “Fulfillment is a right and not a privilege. 


Every one of us is entitled to feel fulfilled by the work we do, to wake up feeling inspired, to feel safe when we're at work, and to return home with a sense of contributing to something larger than ourselves. 


Fulfillment is not a lottery. It is not a feeling reserved for a lucky few who get to say, "I love what I do.”


Note: This article has been edited for length and clarity


Pin Cher is a millennial career clarity & personal development coach, and founder of Pin Coach

Pin Cher's passion lies in working with corporate professionals and high performers to achieve even greater success. She helps them unlock their potential and create an intentional, meaningful way of life. 


Having felt lost and stuck in her own career direction in the past, she now shares her experiences & knowledge to help others. 


Pin Cher holds a B.S in International Management & Business Chinese, an MBA from the University of Taiwan and is Jay Shetty Certified Personal Development & Career Coach. She has over 10 years of international work experience in Sales and Project Manager, for companies in Germany , Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where she is currently based. 


You can get in touch with her on Linkedin, and learn more about her coaching practice here



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