What Job Hits Your Career Sweet Spot?
Here are four job types where most people find their comfort zones. Where do you fall in the career sweet spot trajectory?
The elusive career sweet spot…Are you one of the two-thirds of American workers who live from “Thank God it’s Friday” to “Oh God, it’s Monday”? Then you are not in a good place to be.
For whatever reason, you are not happy with either what you’re doing or what you’re making. Don’t worry, nobody is.
But some do find that perfect balance by finding complete career satisfaction. Below are the stories of four people who found their sweet spots.
The Nine to Fiver
Janelle Young sports pink streaks in her hair and stylish clothes. She casually mentioned that she’s worked as a hair stylist for thirty years, and I thought she was joking. She wasn’t. At 53 years old, she’s worked in the same profession for 30 years, and the same salon for the last seven.
“I feel content with my work. I earn enough to live the life that I want. I’m near my parents and my brother. I can spend time volunteering in the community, and I feel like I make people happy when I do their hair.
When I retire, the only thing that will change is that I’ll do more volunteering and my house will be paid off,” Janelle said with a grin.
In terms of her finances, Janelle said, “It’s not that I never wanted more, but I’ve always had enough. I guess I’m just content. I could have gone out on my own and made more money, but I don’t think I would have liked it, and I don’t know why I would need more money.
I’ve bought a house, and in 10 or 12 years, I’ll be able to retire. I like working for this salon. I know they’ll stay in business, and so will I.”
Janelle is a classic nine to fiver.
She thrives when her work ties immediately to outcomes, and she feels most comfortable when she doesn’t have to take on the risks associated with running a business.
“I like to think that I’m smart and that I have excellent mental resolve, but with entrepreneurship, you need that resolve to persist for years, and you still might not succeed… the feeling of success is rare with entrepreneurship, and I like to see progress,” said Dacheng Zhao, product manager at Google, explained.
After years working as an early employee for a startup, Dacheng struck out on his own.
He started HelpPing, a technology solution that would help customers at retail stores find what they needed. His company failed to gain traction, and less than a year later, Dacheng restarted work as an employee at some of Silicon Valley’s tech giants. That’s where he found his sweet spot.
Currently, Dacheng solves complex problems, but he receives a stable paycheck. He said, “I don’t like the everything-is-at-risk aspect of being an entrepreneur. I want more financial stability, and I’m okay giving up possible financial upside for that stability.”
Dacheng also claims that working for a more established company gives him the option to focus on solving problems, unlike when he was an entrepreneur.
As an intrapreneur – or a manager and innovator within somebody else’s company – he doesn’t have to worry about monetizing his work immediately.
Bill Dwight, founder of FamZoo, spent the first twenty years of his career working as an intrapreneur at various tech startups, including tech giant Oracle. He’s never been afraid of hard work, and he had the energy to be aggressive in his career.
He worked his way up to an executive level, but he kept in touch with his roots as a developer. In 2006, when Bill’s company, Elance (Now Upwork), sold an arm of the company, their executive team needed to downsize, and Bill considered it the right time to strike out on his own.
Although Bill felt he had plenty of creative control working in his previous positions, he dreamed of creating a software that would help parents become better mentors to their kids.
Thanks to years of high paying jobs and frugal living he had the funding to do it. With his five kids in tow, Bill struck out on his own.
For more than a decade, Bill has focused his energy on building out a family banking system that helps prepare kids for the financial jungle of the real world. Today, FamZoo has more than two thousand families enrolled.
Will Bill ever sell FamZoo and realize the huge financial upside? Probably not.
FamZoo’s goals have become his mission, and helping develop a system that helps families out is more important than cashing out. He loves working in his open-ended space.
And with a large financial safety net, he wants to continue his work indefinitely, even if he never turns a profit. To each, his own sweet spot!
When working as a credit analyst, Kayla Sloan spent her days crunching the numbers on other people’s debt, and she spent her nights worrying about her own. Once the worry started to overcome her, Kayla started a blog to help her create a plan and stick to it.
After several months of writing on her own, another blogger approached her and asked if she wanted to take on some freelance writing. She took the gig, and her life began to change.
Kayla built up her freelancing income (writing at first, and over time, digital marketing) to the point where her “side” income surpassed the income she received from her day job, and then she made the leap to full-time freelancing.
As a freelancer, Kayla is paid entirely based on her performance, but she feels that she has more financial security now than she did as a credit analyst. It helps that she earns up to three-and-half times what she earned previously, but she takes comfort in having many different clients instead of just one.
Losing a single client would never sink her financially. For now, freelancing is her sweet spot.