6 Untold Truths of Career Happiness


At 22 I didn’t think I could feel any more lost.

At 24 I was completely baffled by life and the direction my career was going. I’d get home and binge Netflix, bad food, and crappy thoughts because I didn’t know what else to do.

Yet at 27, I’m happy to report that things are going in the right direction. The last 5 years though have been a struggle, an unnecessary one. The trouble is, nobody tells you how hard your early years in your career are.

The 6 untold truths of career happiness

1. You don’t need to climb the ladder to feel successful

I thought you did, it was likely the root of my unhappiness.

For years I thought the only way to feel validated was to climb, manage, to lead. That’s not true. It’s not even close to the truth.

For some people they want that, I mean really want that. They like to manage, they feel a sense of accomplishment when they are leading a team, steering the ship, and making the decisions.

For others, it fills them with stress and anxiety.

2. Nobody knows what they want to be when they grow up

I used to think that once I figured out where I was going, and what I was doing with my life, then and only then, could I be happy.

The truth is you’ll never really know what you want to do with your life. Not really. Sure you’ll have a better idea as you move through life but you’ll never really feel like you know.

So waiting for that moment is a waste of time. Don’t wait, do.

3. You are allowed to experiment with ideas

There used to be this narrative that you found a thing, a thing that paid well, and did that for the next 40 years with 2 weeks off every year to ‘enjoy’ yourself.

Things have changed.

You can move, change, retrain, and revisit.

You can subscribe to that way of doing things or you can do things your own way. You get to decide because it’s your life. If you want to work for 5 years and then decide to go back to school you can. If you want to take a year off to build a niche website, you can.

Whatever you do, make sure it’s for you.

4. There is no timeline

I used to think that life was a race, one that I needed to make sure I was placed in.

  • By 30 I want to be a manager.
  • By 35 I want to be the head of the department.
  • By 40 I want to be a director.

That used to be my timeline.

But trying to squeeze the unpredictability of life into a tight pair of jeans leads to something not pretty. I’ve since learned that thinking that way is a quick way to unhappiness.

I’d read a post by the brilliant @SarinaDahlan that changed my thinking.


There is no right way. No rule book. No anything.

Do whatever you want, whenever you want.

5. Mastery is found in the depths

I’ve been writing online for 2 years, I love it more today than I ever have and that’s because I’ve spent 2 years learning.

Mastery will be me in 10 years' time.

The deeper you go the more joy you find. If you don’t love something the moment you try it, great, welcome to 99% of the world. Most people don’t.

Life isn’t a rom-com. It doesn’t work like that. Things take years. If you’re worrying that you don’t love your thing enough, don’t worry, it took me years to love writing.

6. You will change

The quickest way to find career happiness is to work out who you are, what you want, and what lights you up.

To know that, you need to know yourself. But self-awareness isn’t a destination, it’s a journey (vom city) but it’s true. It’s continuous learning.

So invest time in working out who you are and what you want but be mindful that you are subject to change. Things shift, life pushes and pulls you in weird ways.

There is no right or wrong.

The 6 untold truths of career happiness

Don’t waste time like I did, lean in and get started.

  1. You don’t need to climb the ladder to feel successful
  2. Nobody knows what they want to be when they grow up.
  3. You are allowed to experiment with ideas.
  4. There is no timeline.

5. Mastery is found in the depths.

6. You will change.

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