Chances are when you decided to work in a creative profession, you weren't primarily motivated by money. Earning a decent salary is nice, of course, but for you, it's more about career fulfilment and a wider sense of satisfaction with your life as a whole.
Sometimes, though, it can feel like you're losing your way and you're not sure how to move forward in your life and career. These eight books all understand that and, from different angles, can help you find your way.
Before you think about how you can be happy in your career, you need to consider what happiness really is, and how you can achieve it across your life in general. In this recent book, New York Times-bestselling author Neil Pasricha explains his “9 Secrets to Happiness”. This isn’t mystical, hippy stuff but involves understanding some basic principles of human psychology such as ‘Why multitasking is a myth’ and ‘How eliminating options leads to more choice’. The aim is to change the way you think about everything (your time, your career, your relationships, your family) in a way that will lead to true happiness.
If you’re a fan of books like Freakonomics, you’ll enjoy this look by award-winning psychologist Ron Friedman at what really makes people successful at work. Full of counterintuitive insights and practical suggestions, this entertaining book explains a range of offbeat ideas, such as how thinking like a hostage negotiator can help diffuse a workplace argument or why you should place a fish bowl near your desk.
Changing jobs isn’t the only way to find career happiness; changing the way you approach the job you’re in can also be a successful strategy. That’s the starting point of Love Your Job, a guide to making work fulfilling and fun again, or even for the first time. This book aims to teach you to develop new habits that bring more purpose to your working day; rekindle your motivation by celebrating small successes; recognise negative patterns that stop you from enjoying your job, and craft an entrepreneurial attitude that will get you noticed.
Many people have found career success has come at the expense of personal happiness and successful relationships. But Emma Seppala, an expert on health psychology and well-being, believes that professional and personal success need to go hand in hand.
We're taught that getting ahead means doing everything that's thrown at us, with iron discipline, and that achievement cannot happen without stress. This book, however, draws on the latest findings from cognitive psychology and neuroscience to demolish these theories. It suggests that instead, finding happiness and fulfilment may be the most productive thing we can do to thrive professionally, and offers practical ways to do so.
As the title suggests, this book is very much a practical guide to getting the most out of your career. Aimed squarely at people who are unsatisfied in their current job, it explains how to go about finding work that’s meaningful and engaging.
The author was in that position himself. Robert Dickie was a decorated Air Force officer and a successful executive, but then found himself in a “bad fit” job, and realised he needed to change. He shares the strategies he developed for finding a more satisfying career, in a way that anyone can learn from and be inspired by.
Cheap flights and the power of the web have made the world smaller than ever. So why postpone that round-the-world trip until your retirement, when you can travel the world as you work in your creative job? A growing army of digital nomads is developing a new way of life. And this book by André Gussekloo and Esther Jacobs is packed with their inspiring stories, along with tips and tricks for setting up your own nomadic digital business.
Sometimes, thinking about your career and happiness long-term can be difficult to get your head around. This book by Claire Diaz-Ortiz takes a slightly different approach, instead of focusing on how you can be more productive and satisfied in a single day. It’s not about working harder but about planning well so that you actually end up doing less but achieving more and having greater peace of mind. And these aren’t just principles for your career but can be applied to any area of your life, and help you get more out of it.
Self-help business books perpetuate the myth that success is relentless growth and more of everything means progress. The Human Freelancer is your antidote; stuffed with emotional support for vulnerable newbies to self-employment. Inside you'll find useful if often irreverent advice, in chapters like: ‘What the career adviser didn't tell you’, ‘How to survive criticism with self-esteem intact’ and ‘What fluffers teach you about your job’.
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