How do you define the satisfaction of your career for life

Happiness and satisfaction are the basis for health and success in life

Today we look forward to Dr. Bernd Slaghuis as blog interview partner. Since last year he has been giving exciting lectures at our VDI nachrichten recruiting days. As an expert in new careers and healthy leadership, he runs a coaching practice in Cologne, where he has specialized in matters relating to professional reorientation.


Hello Dr. Slaghuis, the first thing that catches your eye on your website is one sentence: Happiness and satisfaction are the basis for health and success in life. We are certainly all aware of this, but the achievement of satisfaction has two main foundations.

There is private and professional satisfaction. Let's talk about professional satisfaction here at What is the best way for a graduate to go about finding a job that can provide job satisfaction. What is the best way to find out in advance?

Bernd Slaghuis: First of all: professional and private satisfaction are closely related. The job is an essential part of life, so the concept of work-life balance has long since become obsolete. Rather, it is about integrating your job meaningfully into your own life. And what use is the dream job if the house blessing is crooked? In my coaching, it is therefore important to me to always include the private side when it comes to professional issues, where it makes sense and is important.

Back to your question: Job satisfaction is achieved when the job and the environment match my values ​​and goals today. Anyone who loves a challenge but is only occupied with routine tasks is just as dissatisfied as someone who needs recognition but has a boss for whom appreciation is a foreign word. Personal values, i.e. what is particularly important to us so that we are happy in our job - and in life - should be fulfilled to some extent. In my experience, this is a very central lever for job satisfaction.

Finding out in advance whether the new job is really the right one is not always easy, because satisfaction often depends on interpersonal relationships. I develop your dream job with applicants. Here we define everything that goes with it. It starts with the industry, the region or the size of the company, goes on to the ideal activities and extends to questions about what makes the boss and colleagues tick best. For many, the result of this exercise is a concrete checklist for further job searches.

If you are not sure whether the job is really the right one, what is the best way to last?

I am not a fan of perseverance! For me, this expresses resignation and passivity. If you have the slightest problem or the first disagreement with your supervisor, it is certainly not the right approach. My tip: Be aware of what is bothering you in a certain situation. What's behind it? Which of your values ​​is being neglected here at the moment? What frustrates you and has it always been that way? What has changed? Then become active yourself! Which levers can you turn to improve something in your situation? It is always amazing how much freedom of action employees also have to change something in a stressful situation. If you are sure that your current job will not make you happy, then go. Perseverance to CV cosmetics, I personally consider it to be a wasted lifetime in this day and age.

Is it advisable to be honest and to seek a conversation with the supervisor or is it best to apply for a new application immediately and be mentally on the jump?

First of all, I recommend talking to your supervisor. That's what bosses are for. Not only should you distribute work, you should also listen to your employees' problems. Normally, your boss is interested in keeping you as an employee and it is important to him that you can do a good job - and he is responsible for these framework conditions. So, if the working conditions are no longer right for you or you have expectations of your manager that are currently not being met, then create clarity. Leadership is not a one-way street and your boss doesn't own a crystal ball. He also depends on your feedback and on you taking the initiative independently if something bothers you.

If I have been working for a long time and have been frustrated, how can a professional reorientation be achieved here?

“I have to get out of there!” This is the goal that most clients come to me with. The first step for the realignment is to rethink, namely to “Where do I want to go?” Another important preparatory work is to learn to appreciate your own strengths and skills again. Many people who are frustrated have lost their self-awareness and appreciation of their own talents over time. Development work is needed here. The focus is then on identifying a new, attractive destination. A goal that fits your current and future values ​​and personal goals. A second and very important point is the ideal work environment. Where do you find the best breeding ground for your professional and personal development over the next few years? And here you can still dream, far too often we limit ourselves to new things through rationality, fear and too little curiosity and courage. This is also where it is decided whether a change at the current employer can already lead in the desired direction, or whether the realignment means dismissal and change. However, the goal alone is not enough. It will be difficult without a concrete implementation plan that you really want. And here it is important not to rely on others; it is up to you to get closer to your goal little by little.

Changes in life are possible at any time, but financial shackles often leave people with little room for maneuver. A restart turns out to be rather difficult. What are the possibilities here?

I have found that this is exactly what many people believe. "I have no other choice, because what should I pay the rent from tomorrow?" So continue to suffer and give up the poor victim! That is a killer argument against any change. Certainly there are framework conditions under which a career change is only possible. And the love of money plays a big role for most of them. Many reorienters opt for an interim solution, which may consist of continuing with the previous job - with a different attitude - and creating space to prepare for the new. Others find in the coaching process that they can get by with less money and it is more important to them that other things in life and at work are more fulfilled instead. Many executives come to me with the desire to take a break in their jobs. This step is known as downshifting and is a special form of professional reorientation. The point is not always to work less, but to work more self-determinedly and perhaps also to forego part of the previous income.

According to my definition, career means professional development according to personal values ​​and goals in life and at work. Taking a step back is equivalent to climbing up the corporate ladder. And this is where happiness and contentment come full circle. There are phases in life when personal values ​​and goals change. For many people in their forties, success, power and status take a back seat, meaning or challenge become more important. Anyone who at this point recognizes the importance of these changes for their professional development and consciously adapts their own path instead of simply pursuing a blind career will always find a path that leads them in the right direction. I am firmly convinced of that.

Thank you for the interesting interview, Dr. Slaghuis. Let's hope that our readers' professional and private happiness are balanced. We look forward to your next lecture on our recruiting day on May 19 in Düsseldorf with the title: Career on course - 5 steps to more professional orientation.

Thank you for the interview and I look forward to the visitors to the Düsseldorf Recruiting Day. If you would like to read more about my perspectives on new careers and healthy leadership, please visit my blog Change of Perspective.


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