Career Satisfaction and Meaningful Relationships – A Recent Alum’s Perspective

Submitted by Chelsea Dygan, Class of 2010

Chelsea%20SmallI am not an expert on career satisfaction.  Nor am I an expert on relationships.  But I have a hunch that the two are related.

I don’t mean to imply that satisfied employees are ones that find romantic love at work (although that probably keeps things interesting for a while).

After nearly two whole years in the world of work (Wow, get this girl a pension!), I’ve come to suspect that the best way to earn a living, and perhaps the only way to contribute meaningfully to society, is to surround yourself with people you like.  And, more importantly, to be someone likeable.

The boss.
My boss probably won’t read this (unless she Googles me), but I’ll say it anyway: Jen is a damn good boss.  She labors hard for our company, but models a healthy balance between life and work.  She shows genuine interest in my day-to-day activities, but trusts me to accomplish things independently. Perhaps most importantly, she champions a clear vision for the future of our organization, but is open to new ideas and different ways of operating. It’s important that my supervisees would say the same nice things about me.

The coworkers.
We’re all busy. Our generation has an IPhone in our ear, a Frappuccino in one hand, and we’re typing with the other–while driving.  And, I would venture that most of us have this sneaking feeling that if we put any of that stuff down, we’ll be fired and homeless. But at least once a day, I seek to recondition my behavior. I sit gadget-free across from Beverly and listen to a story about her granddaughter.  I write a note to Lourdes because she’s a talented teacher.  Just yesterday, I spent some time jamming to Christmas carols with Lee, who has impressively decorated his office.  I try to look at people almost as much as I look at computers, if only to prevent eye disorders.  But mostly because I want us to be friends.

The clients.
My field is outreach, prevention and development for a local non-profit.  My “clients” range from people seeking counseling services, to Chamber of Commerce members who might attend the January fundraiser.  I learned early on that I spout nonsense and slowly lose my mind if I choose to behave differently depending on the audience.  My solution has been to behave like “myself” in most situations, unless that situation requires me to be real quiet.  I seek authenticity in my interactions, and I’m never confused.

During the holiday season, you might expect a lovey-dovey blog post, but I mean it.  My work wisdom is this – find people who will take care of you, and take fiercely good care of them in return.

Chelsea Dygan is the Associate Director of Development, Outreach and Prevention at The Grove Counseling Center in Orlando

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