What makes my career deep-down satisfying are those times when connecting happens as the dialogue flows between the client and myself. There’s a trust in the process and a kind of knowing that is freeing and creative, compassionate and strong– I feel it. This is what I’m suppose to be doing.  – Mary Franz PCC, Career & Executive Coach

Debbie repeated a story I had heard her share previously.  Admittedly, it was painful to hear…

I don’t think anyone at work values what I do. I’m not important to the organization. There’s nothing for me to aspire to in this company.  It’s a dead end.  I’m paid well, but what I do doesn’t make a difference. It’s depressing.

Fast forward to the present.  It’s been 9 months since Debbie accepted the option for an early retirement from her previous employer.  She’s been working in her new job for almost 2 months.

Debbie’s story is much different.  She now shares…

I’m told by the owner’s son that he sees a difference in the stress level of his dad since I started working for him. I know it’s true. My boss, his dad, tells me how much he appreciates me.  And, the other day, I shared some information that I think really helped another employee that was struggling. I feel really good about myself and my job.

No doubt, Debbie’s job today is more deep-down satisfying.

In this article the characteristics of deep-down satisfying work are defined.  Next, key factors for creating a deep-down satisfying career are offered.

Let’s get started.

For many people, a deep-down satisfying career includes the following attributes…

  • Lifestyle needs are maintained with the assurance that increases will come    so that meeting those needs are accomplished in a timely way with ease.
  • Personal strengths are utilized and ongoing development of these strengths occur regularly.
  • Values and work are congruent. There’s an alignment of work purpose with life purpose. “All people deserve to be treated with dignity” is a value I hold dearly in both my work and life interactions.  It’s a part of my life purpose.
  • There’s what career researchers call a  “transcendent summons.”  This can be a God/Higher Power calling some people experience.  For others, the “summons” comes as a family legacy to keep or a strong sense of purpose serve a greater social need.This concept comes from the “work as a calling” discussions.  For more fascinating information on this topic, read Make My Job A Calling by Bryan Dik PhD., etal.
  • Work makes a meaningful difference to others.  There’s a pro-social orientation; an awareness of contributing to the larger community, benefiting others both directly and Indirectly and finally,
  • There’s genuine happiness and excitement about each day ahead. Sometimes a reminder is needed to take a break you’re so involved.

A career that is deep-down satisfying sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Regardless of where you are on the career path, these attributes can help you determine your next steps and perhaps validate the steps you have already taken.

Here’s some key factors that can accelerate the creation of your deep-down career satisfaction…


Key #1—Be wary of the comfort zone inertia that’s the kiss of death for deep-down goodness possible for your career.

We can sign up for some defeating kinds of thinking that become “comfortable” because for some reason or another they aren’t challenged and quite frankly, it’s just the way you’ve always thought.

It’s like signing an unlivable contract. You can know it’s unlivable because it zaps energy and promotes defeat before you try. Go ahead, tear that contract up!

Here’s a sample of some of the common defeating, unproductive thoughts that need to be challenged…

–I’m too old to make any meaningful changes.  My time is over.

–I can’t stand it if I’m turned down or rejected.

–I’m too young to be taken seriously.

–I should be happy with what I’ve got.

–No one will be interested in my ideas.

–I never finish anything, so why start anything now?

–I’m not smart enough.

–I need to wait until it’s the right time.

–I’ve already invested money in learning xyz, I can’t change my mind.

–If I don’t like it, I can always quit.

–I’m an introvert, so I really can’t do any selling.

–I’m too this or too that…blah, blah, blah.

–It’s not okay to be uncomfortable.

Be your own super lawyer (low cost) and cross examine those thoughts demanding evidence. Zap them. Not useful. Get your supporters to help!

Key #2—Make a commitment to your chosen career.

Read the following. Highlight, copy, paste and print or save to your desktop. Read it daily. Reflect. Commit.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe  says it best…

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

Key #3—Build in the discipline to stick it out when the going gets tough.

So, you’ve zapped the unproductive thoughts (and you’re keeping the zapper nearby in case they return…sneaky little so and sos) and you’ve made the commitment to pursue the drop-dead-deep-down satisfying career. You’ve made a plan and are going along and you get stuck or denied access or are simply feeling defeat.

Here comes the disciplined you who says: Ok! Let’s take a look at what happened and make a list of what is working and what isn’t. What are some new ideas?

Maybe a chunk of your career includes public speaking. You present and it was received well, lots of interest, but few sales as a result. You hire a marketing/sales guru, share a tape of your presentation and get some feedback.

New ideas… you can’t wait to try them out.

A disciplined approach when things get tough that wards off any serious thoughts of giving up is the key. Giving up. Just- Not- Happening

Key #4—Call on your community of support.

Do you have a team of caring friends who are willing to provide honest, objective feedback?  Are you keeping them informed of your dream work vision?

Good job.

Key #5—Love yourself into success.

Early in my career, a wise mentor told me at a time of feeling overwhelmed, “Mary, it takes years to develop as a professional.” At the time, I didn’t fully appreciate the meaning of those words. I do now.

And, ouch, this “development” stuff has been painful over the years and can still be painful at times when starting a new project or transitioning to a different business model. The joy, however, is that much sweeter when there’s success.

The learning curve is still there no matter how long you’ve been in a career…even one that’s deep-down satisfying. (BTW, a secret of staying deep down satisfied is the ongoing learning, which, surprise surprise, isn’t always comfortable!) I’m hearing Pia Melody’s words, “Pain filled joy, joy filled pain” and smiling.

David Brooks, a New York columnist and author in a conversation with Charlie Rose, used this phrase when talking about commitment, “You’ve got to love yourself into it (a vocation).  He suggests it’s a process too big to imagine in one sitting.  He’s absolutely right.  Deep-down career satisfaction is an ongoing process requiring commitment.

And as suggested earlier, the love you’re giving yourself through this process will embrace the discipline necessary to succeed. Go ahead…love yourself through the challenging times. Ask for a hug. Give hugs. Ok, group hug!

The takeaway is…

Be brave and go after what makes meaningful work for you that is deep-down satisfying.