Career Fulfillment: Are You Living Your Utopia?

July 25, 2008

“For other nations, utopia is a blessed past never to be recovered; for Americans it is just beyond the horizon.”

— Henry Kissinger

The Oxford English Dictionary defines utopia as “an ideal place or state.” The Renaissance English author, Sir Thomas More, described it as “an imaginary place.” Consequently, career utopia can be defined as the perfect working environment, which is only an imaginary place for many people. In fact, studies have demonstrated that only a mere twenty percent of Americans believe they are living their career utopia. Accordingly, most people fall in the remaining eighty percent who are dissatisfied with their current employment. Although a significant amount of time is spent at the workplace and many people are working longer hours, in general, career fulfillment continues to evade a significant majority of Americans.

Career utopia should provide a feeling of pride, self-esteem, and a sense of accomplishment in addition to the more traditional goals of economic gain and peer recognition. Our culture promotes the idea of achieving the American dream. We are encouraged to obtain the necessary tools to live a harmonious life where family and material possessions are essential. Employment constitutes the primary means to achieve such a dream. As a result, the working environment directly correlates to one’s sense of well-being. Therefore, it is imperative to evaluate the essential components of your career utopia by identifying those aspects that you consider most important and by bridging the gap between your expectations and reality.

Employees often have unrealistic expectations and often believe better opportunities lie elsewhere, resulting in a lack of motivation and poor performance. To better assess your objectives, you must analyze your expectations and understand when to compromise. Similarly, reviewing your options and limitations will help with the decision-making process in reaching your utopia. What is your utopia? Is it a place that can be realized or are you of the same belief as Sir Thomas More? Some people say that the pursuit of happiness is never ending. Do you agree?

Imagine spending your days in an environment that promotes healthy professional and personal growth—where time seems to move faster because your productivity and input are acknowledged and appreciated. Think of the possibilities of a better future and decide when you want to move from the realm of the unfulfilled into the twenty percent who live in their career utopia.

After evaluating your current situation, concentrate on how you will accomplish your goals. Whether or not your career utopia can be achieved in your current employment or you decide to pursue other options — maintain a clear focus. Should you decide to embark on a career move, select those professionals who can best help you realize your utopia.

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