Work satisfaction isnít about finding nirvana. Itís about knowing what you value and making intelligent tradeoffs to get it. While one of my favorite formulas for being happy at work is to spend most of your time doing what you enjoy and as little time as possible doing what you don't, there are situations where applying that principle can get a little tricky.
Sarah was at her wit's end trying to balance her work and her responsibilities as a mother. She had high expectations of herself in both roles.
After much soul searching, she finally acknowledged what she most wanted was to be a full time Mom.
She and her husband, who had a successful practice as a solo consultant, decided they could live on his income alone if they cut their expenses. The problem was that he was a serious diabetic and they relied on her employer for affordable health insurance.
Sarah decided the best solution was to work very part-time for a former employer doing a job that was way below her skills and not particularly satisfying in itself. Her salary was just enough to pay for childcare. The real payoff was the affordable health insurance the family was able to obtain.
On the surface this solution seems to contradict the principle of basing your work on what you love doing. But it doesn't really. What Sarah most wanted was to be a full time mom. Her part time job was the tradeoff for being able to do it.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)