What Brings Me Joy?

July 21, 2020 | Alex Plinio and Melissa Smith

Note from the Editor

The times may feel surreal, but that doesn’t mean your career planning has to stop. I asked one of my best career coaches, Alex Plinio and his esteemed colleague, Melissa Smith, both of Rutgers University to share with us how we can conduct career planning amidst today’s challenges.

Alex and Melissa wrote the amazing book, Time To Get Real: Turning Uncertainty into an Action Plan for Personal and Professional Success. Their blog post explores ways to discover what brings us joy in our career path. As Alex’s student, I benefited greatly from asking that question years back, and since many of you have written me about your own career path in light of CV-19, I thought you’d want to hear what Alex and Melissa have to say. Enjoy.

– Laurence A. Pagnoni


What Brings Me Joy?

The next chapter after Interests in Time To Get Real! focuses on joy. We ask you to look back on your life and consider what achievements and accomplishments gave the most joy? What was the sense of accomplishment or joy received from them? What are the discernable themes? And what is the importance of focusing on joy or happiness?

According to happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., of the University of California, Riverside, “the benefits of happiness include higher income and superior work outcomes, larger social rewards, more activity, energy, and flow, better physical health, and even longer life.” Dr. Lyubomirsky has found that happy individuals are more creative, helpful, charitable, and self-confident, have better self-control, and show greater self-regulatory and coping abilities.

Joy is derived in different ways for different people, however, we all know when we have it, we like it a lot and would love to keep it. Joy can come from various sources: your work, your interests, your family, your hobbies, things accomplished, challenges overcome, new experiences, and so on. To the extent possible, the more we can replicate in our life and in our career that feeling of joy, the happier we will be. We ask you to write about several incidents in your life that produced joy. This is important when considering later aspects of the model and attempting to determine how to replicate those feelings through work and life.

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