If you think there are more than three crucial reasons to make you stay in your current job or urge you to explore a new one, I’m afraid you’re over-complicating things. If you think you could proceed without any of the three (mentioned below), I’m afraid you miss some really important aspects behind “working”.

The list is neither long nor super-sophisticated. It contains 3 (only!) simple and great, inevitable pillars of life. You might translate those into feelings, practical benefits and … further purpose of life.  In short, they are:

Fulfillment, Money & Free Time

Fulfillment stands for career advancement, recognition, self-esteem, prestige, reputation, even glory.

Money stands for income, material goods, belongings, life-style.

Free time stands for self-actualization, hobbies, extra curriculum activities, revitalization, friends, family, social contribution.

Up to now, I have never met anybody enjoying simultaneously all three of them at their professional endeavors. And I bet there is none. In fact, the three factors might act as contradictory under certain circumstances. If you have a distinguished job that pushes your career up to the sky, you might not have sufficient free time to devote to your other interests. If you make lots of money but you’re ashamed to say where you work or what you do, you might experience the ugly feeling of disenchantment. If you have enough time to dedicate to your hobbies, family, and friends, you might not be able to fully realize your life dreams due to limited “resources”. And when you’re well known, respected, admired or even envied for your success, you might need something more “tangible” to get than mere esteem.

Life is tricky, isn’t it? You cannot have it all at the same time. But ALL is just THREE. At least, you can try to have one or two, especially when it has to do with work.

A job, a profession, any professional activity should offer you at least one of those three basic ingredients of professional contentment. Identify which is the most valuable for you at any given time of your life – beware it might be different from time to time – and go for it! Or… get easily adapted to what is most likely to be offered to you, and live (happily) with it by taking advantage of it as much as possible.

Various combinations of the three crucial components might exist. But this is not a straightforward situation. Do not fool yourself by falsely “increasing” the current percentage of each factor in your job. You either earn good money or not. You either have time to go to the gym every day or not. You either grow professionally year by year and month by month or not. A mixture of X% fulfillment, Y% money and Z% free time (all X, Y, Z below 50%) is a deliberate illusion. Do not get locked up by it. Sincerely recognize the one and only major factor that is offered to you by the job under “test”.

If you think of it overall in the simple (not simplistic) and clear way I propose, you will feel much much better with your dreams, your choices, your achievements, your life in general. And this is exactly the key to happiness: realize where you stand and manage* to feel contented with what you can get out there at any time.

* Those who know me pretty well will easily recognize that the word “manage” entails all the assertiveness, the effort, the fight, and the “sweat” in which I have always believed and which I have always exercised. No slow down proposed!