When Work Is No Longer Work

I’m going to let you in on a little secret … I stopped working this year.

Yes, I admit it. I haven’t been working. It’s not that I don’t have a job anymore. I do. In fact, I’m quite busy. But this job kind of feels like I’m doing something valuable- something ground-breaking, something – dare I say it – fun.

So what changed? What’s different? Reflecting on this question brought me to a single reason for my new breakthrough way of “working” – transitioning to a role directly aligned with my long-term career goals. I recently took on a new role at my organization – I shifted from developing marketing strategies for an area of our business to our HR business. Sure, this was an “out-of-the-box” move, one with a more internal focus.

Through my decision-making process, I kept coming back to the fact that this new role directly impacted the topics that make me tick, keep me up at night, and that I am passionate about: leadership, diversity, and people development. How could that be a bad thing?

Here are three things I did to get on this path of aligning my career with my passions:

1. Self-discovery – I’ve worked in all kinds of roles and in many industries. In my mind, I’ve been compiling a list of things I like and don’t like to do. I also frequently take assessments as they come my way so I can learn more about me – what are the things I’m good at and, even more importantly, the things that I need to work on if I want to take a different direction with my career. It was through self-discovery and writing my personal blog that I found my true passions.

2. Build a plan and make it happen – Once I understood the direction I wanted to take, I built a plan to get more exposure to these areas that aligned with my passion for leadership and diversity. I made it my mission to volunteer for every project and team at my company that I could. For example, I was especially interested in women in leadership so I volunteered for our local Business Women’s Network. I used my marketing skills, like community building, to volunteer and learn more about the organization. Now I’m part of their extended leadership team and get to impact the programs for women at our organization.

3. Let it be known! This was key for me. I made sure everyone I talked to, networked with and had coffee with, knew about my areas of interest. By talking to people, I was top of mind when projects arose and new positions opened up.

With the end of the year upon you, take some time for reflection. Think about the things that matter most to you. And maybe your New Year’s Resolution can include less work and more fun!

I’d love to hear how you find fun in your work.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/3928073311/

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