A 2016 New Year’s Resolution: Invest in Your Career Happiness

Happy belated New Years! As we enter 2016, I have a resolution for everyone: invest in yourself. Most people already have in different ways: fitness, academic, and “living life to the fullest” resolutions top the charts every year. But in 2016, we should make another investment: an investment in our career happiness.

As a recruiter, I discuss career happiness with people every day. Two questions give me similar, alarming responses: “Have you learned anything impactful that has helped you grow within the past 6 months?” and, “What would you consider a career highlight from the past year?” I have the fortune of talking to several talented people every day who struggle to answer those two questions and in many cases, the problem is opportunity, not ability

So how do we invest in our career happiness and complete our 2016 resolution? By finding the best opportunity to enjoy spending 8+ hours per day. We start with three questions:

  1. Have I surrounded myself with exceptional people?
  2. Do I have the freedom to regularly develop my skills, both new and old?
  3. Is my heart devoted to this mission or am I ready to commit to a new challenge?

There are always opportunities to learn but it is a choice. After answering the questions above, are you satisfied with your current position or is now the time to find new inspiration?

How I invested in my career happiness

I took a headstart on our resolution and decided to invest in myself with the Ivy Softworks team in September, 2015. I intentionally waited before writing this post because being able to reflect on my development since joining the team provides a more complete experience to share with you.

University of Washington never taught a course on “How to Change Jobs 101” or “Taking the Next Big Step of Your Career”. The uncertainty is daunting, I’d never made a career transition before. How did I know that I was making the “right” choice? I started with our three questions:

  1. Had I surrounded myself with exceptional people?
    Yes, the leadership team members were industry leaders in recruiting. I enjoyed my coworkers and still considered many of them to be my close friends.
  2. Did I have the freedom to regularly develop my skills?
    I had the opportunity to move into business development and work with clients, which involved a different skill set. Regarding recruiting, I didn’t see as much room to grow here. I’d become more interested in helping shape a big-picture, organizational recruiting strategy and executing it.
  3. Was my heart still devoted to this mission or was I ready to commit to a new challenge?
    My decision wasn’t easy, but my heart told me to move on. I’d achieved my goals and exceeded my expectations during my time here. Now my desires had shifted and I wanted to expand my skill set in new ways.

Eventually I fully came to terms with my third answer and realized that I wasn’t 100% committed to the mission of my previous company. I knew that now was the time to move on, no matter how difficult it was. My next adventure awaited me and I was ready to begin.

Reflecting on my journey

Fast forward to December 30th, 2015 and I’m trying to finish this blog post for early January, the earlier we can start our resolution, the better. So, has investing in my career happiness paid dividends during my first four months? The simple answer is yes, but the “how” is more interesting.

I’ve had a seat at the table in impactful organizational discussions, highlighted by the creation of our 2016 recruiting roadmap. The operations team began by defining our recruiting vision statement and strategic outcomes, then identifying and assessing our capabilities and barriers, before prioritizing our initiatives for 2016.

I’ve also learned valuable lessons in community engagement, representing Ivy Softworks at local events, like Seattle Startup Week, New Tech Seattle, the WTIA Tech Crawl, the Geekwire Gala, and more.

Most importantly, I’ve assumed the challenge and privilege of growing an exceptional and enduring team. In four short months, we have more than doubled our candidate pipeline. More importantly, we’ve added 11 new members to our team for a total of 37 and we are still growing!

So far, Ivy Softworks has been a whole new world of opportunity, for me and our engineers alike. I’ve been able to experience a team that genuinely believes in a collective company vision, in each other, and in our leadership team. We elevate each other to new heights on the best of days and prop each other up on the toughest. The ambiguity that we work in is both the most glorious and most daunting part of each day, but the boldness of our mission and welcoming of the unknown is what brings us together.

Life is full of choices and investing in your career happiness is one of them. I made the choice to  grow with an incredible community of people, maximize my opportunities to grow, and rally behind an inspiring mission. Now the question is, will you?