While I intentionally started my “Happiness Project” with a fun and easy element (ENERGY), I also deliberately chose to up the ante in February by diving into what is likely to be the most challenging element for me – WORK.
With statistics suggesting that the average person will make a career change 5-7 times during their working life, I’ve been decidedly single-tracked in my professional progression … that is, until I quit my job and moved to Dubai with my husband. Since then, I’ve hesitated (and cringed) each time before having to fill in “Housewife” under “Profession” on various forms and documents,and chuckled numerous times to myself over my new motto of “desperately trying NOT to become a desperate housewife”.
To be perfectly honest, however, I am grateful for this career lapse. My career uncertainty had been gradually building up in the last year and work stress had left me on the brink of a burn out. Having this idea of myself as an ambitious biologist and having trained for this for so many years, it’s been hard for me to look beyond this and acknowledge that my passion for academia has been fading.
Happiness is a critical factor for work, and work is a critical factor for happiness.
Whether I truly desire to stay in academia, and if so, regaining my enthusiasm, is something that I need to figure out and hope to achieve during this month.
My 8 daily resolutions for WORK are:
- First task = manuscript
- Answer emails immediately
- Read a paper a day
- Catch up on science news
- Update skills
- Avoid time wasters
- Work smart, be efficient
- Feel happier at work
Although I am officially “funemployed”, I have several manuscripts that need to be completed, a grant currently under evaluation, and a student that I am supervising remotely. So my first two resolutions deal with staying committed to these immediate priorities. My resolutions to read a scientific paper a day, catch up on science news, and to update my skills are to make sure that I stay career current, career enthusiastic and career relevant respectively. I had starting working through the Data Scientist Specialization on Coursera and I intend to continue until I finish. Finally, I need to work in a more focused and efficient manner, and most importantly, challenge any negative thoughts and emotions while working, if I am to steer away from potential burn out.
My weekly resolution for WORK is:
- Network – reach out to at least one organisation
There are several universities and NGO’s in Dubai that I should get in contact with.
My specific goals for WORK are:
- Respond to old work emails
- Finish virus database
- Update resume
- Research jobs in Dubai
- Identify my niche
Most of these resolutions are necessary tasks that I need to accomplish in order to finish up my previous career commitments and to begin my career search in Dubai. But the task of identifying my niche will be the most important with respect to answering the question of “What do I do with my life from here on out?”.