The Big Happiness Interview: How to find work that makes you happy

It’s being called ‘The Great Resignation’.

Workers all over the world have been quitting their jobs at historic rates. Data is showing that nearly 2 million UK adults left their job since the first wave of the pandemic and according to one survey 46% of UK employees plan to quit their jobs in the next 12 months.

Why? ‘The pandemic, this big traumatic event, has made everyone reassess life,’ says John Williams, best-selling author of F**k Work, Let’s Play: Do What You Love and Get Paid For It. ‘It’s been a scary time and people are less tolerant of staying in jobs they hate.

‘People are realising that there’s more to work than the four walls of an office and combine this with the post-pandemic search for more meaning and connection and people are looking to reinvent their work life.’

This is good news for John. With three best-selling cult books on career reinvention, John helps people discover a fulfilling work path, make the leap, and create businesses and work lives that they love.

His company The Ideas Lab has helped thousands of people to start businesses and his first book Screw Work Let’s Play was selected by The Sunday Times as one of the top six hottest new self-help tomes and has now been translated into 10 languages.

‘The truth is the world has changed,’ he tells Metro.co.uk. ‘It is possible for anyone to make a living doing what they love.

‘Life is fleeting; why waste it on work that has no meaning for you?’

For this weekend’s Big Happiness Interview, we talk to John about how to find the work that makes you happy.

What is the connection between work and happiness?

It’s really difficult to be happy if you’re in a job, that doesn’t suit you, if it doesn’t match your values and you don’t enjoy it.

Plus it’s hard to be successful in a job you hate. It’s difficult to feel good about yourself, if you’re not doing well, your work isn’t valued, and you’re getting criticised.

So if you’re unhappy in your work, what should you do?

Don’t quit your job! Well, not straight away. Explore what you want to do while you’re still in a job.

It’s not wise to try to do blue sky thinking while watching your bank account tick down. The exploratory phrase of: what do I like, who am I, and what do I want to do? – can take six months or 12 months or more and it’s really difficult to do that when you’re blowing thousands of pounds a month on rent or a mortgage.

So I would say stay in your job for now and start a ‘play project.’

man staring out of the window

A play project?

A play project is a short project, where you’re experiencing doing the work that feels like play and producing a product or a thing of value for others in 30 days.

It’s short enough for you to experiment and not procrastinate – you might try to write a book or create a blog or dominate twitter or create a TikTok video every day.

You’re not spending 30 days writing a business plan or designing a website or logo. You’re simply getting into action and discovering if your idea has legs, whether people want what you have to offer and whether you enjoy it.

If you spend three to six months, prevaricating and talking about what you might do, you’ll have done nothing and learned nothing.

If you put your idea into the world, then you immediately start learning about what works and more crucially what people want from you.

I’ve seen remarkable things grow out of a 30-day project – new products, new careers, new business, new lives, new attitudes even national movements.

But will that make you happy?

Psychological research shows that meaning and happiness comes from your relationships with people. And so, your play project should involve delivering value for people – be it entertaining, informing or educating them – as long as you are impacting others in a positive way.

Life is fleeting; why waste it on work that has no meaning for you?’

How do you identify what you want to do?

Experiment. I’m a big fan of psychologist Carl Rogers, and he says that experiential learning is a thing that really counts when you’re making big life decisions.

We’ve been taught at school that you should sit and think and not put your hand up until you’ve come up with the right answer. But the rest of life actually doesn’t work like that. You need to experience it for real and keep playing and tweaking until it feels right.

How do you start?

Brainstorm. Write down every idea you have for a business or a side project. Give it a day, then examine your notes and choose your top five ideas. Write down what you might struggle with and identify what assets you have that could support each idea in terms of practical skills, work experience and life experience. Ask yourself: what could give you a competitive advantage in this business or line of work?

Say you have an idea to develop an app to deliver coffee to office workers – ask yourself: are you technically minded? Do you know about catering businesses? Sourcing coffee beans? Are you good at coding?

Choose one idea and commit to ‘playing’ with it for 30 days. If after 30 days you realise the idea isn’t going to work, either tweak it or move on to your next idea. Each 30-day play project will teach you something and take you closer to work you love.

How do you know if you’re on the right track?

Do the millionaire test. Ask yourself if you had a million in the bank right now and didn’t need to work for quite a while what would you choose to do? If you can align your career or business, to the point where, even if you didn’t need the money, you do it anyway, then you’re on the right track.

What gets in the way of you finding work that you love?

Many people find they can’t be happy in a normal job because they’re a ‘scanner’- this is term that was originally coined by author and coach Barbara Sher.

A scanner is somebody that has lots of interests, lots of ideas, loves learning for the sake of learning. But as soon as they’ve got the gist of it, they get bored and move on. They’re good at starting things and bad at finishing things.

When I’m running workshops, I ask who identifies with that and half the room put their hand up. It’s important to recognise that there’s nothing wrong with being a scanner. And it can be our greatest strength despite the world telling us that we need to focus on one thing to be successful.

If we look around the world today at the people who we value, who have really changed the world – those people have many interests, be it Elon Musk, Oprah or Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs brought in his passion for typography, design and technology, mixed it together and created Apple, now the world’s most valuable company.

If you can align your career or business, to the point where, even if you didn’t need the money, you do it anyway, then you’re on the right track.

What’s the secret of happiness at work?

I believe to be truly happy at work you need the three Ps – the intersection of play, practice, and profit. When you create this sweet spot, then you’ll end up with a really good career and life.

First identify what you love doing, even if you didn’t get paid for it – something that feels more like play than work.

Secondly, aim for something you are practiced at so that you can quickly start to produce value for other people (or invest the time to get good at it).

And think how to use these things in a way that solves a problem for people. That means you’ll be able to make money from it.

When you put those three things together – play, practice and profit – you can be happy at work. The sooner you start that journey and stick at it and create stuff that people really value in the world, amazing things will come to you.

How to become a ‘player’ at work:

F**k Work, Let’s Play : Do What You Love and Get Paid for It (Pearson, £12.99) is out now.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article