With the lines between home and work blurring, being happy on the job is more important than ever. When you wake up in the morning, do you feel fairly energetic and ready to start your day? Or do you dread the prospect of getting out of bed and facing another workday?

I wasn’t happy in my career for 20 years and didn’t know why other than vague thoughts like not feeling like I fit in as well as not being passionate about the work I was doing.

At the time, I didn’t know how to change my situation so; I kept going through the motions and “picked myself up by the bootstraps” as I had been taught to do and kept going. As a result of this, I struggled with depression, general malaise and lacked fulfillment in my life.

What was interesting is that this wasn’t obvious to others. I was perceived as being successful and therefore it was assumed that I was happy. I finally had enough and fortunately found the resources I needed to take actions to transition to a career that is aligned with who I am and now I am able to thrive!

We spend a lot of time at work. A Gallup poll revealed that American adults employed full-time work an average of 47 hours per week which equates to over 90,000 hours of work in a lifetime. Given the amount of hours one devotes to work, having the right job is important to one’s overall fulfillment and wellbeing.

Studies indicate that 50-60% of all working adults are dissatisfied with their job. Yet, many, like my past situation can’t identify the specific reasons for their dissatisfaction, or more importantly, what they can do to improve their work situation.

Here are three direct benefits of a meaningful career that can feed into a thriving life.

1. Improved health

People under a lot of stress suffer from a multitude of side effects ranging from body pain and difficulty sleeping to more severe side effects such as social withdrawal and drug abuse. On the other hand, a fulfilling work situation can lead to you a general feeling of wellbeing.

2. Happier relationships

When you’re frustrated, unhappy and unfulfilled in your career, it can carry over into your personal life. When you’re happy with your life, others will take notice!

3. Increased productivity

When you’re feeling good, you’re able to focus and actually accomplish work, which in turn fuels continued success. Research shows that happy employees have 31 percent higher productivity than their unhappy counterparts! It goes without saying that when you’re doing your best at work, things like promotions and raises will come even more easily.

Life is too short to spend at a job that doesn’t make you smile, challenge your intellect or offer opportunities for both personal and professional growth.

Now’s the time to take inventory of your career happiness. If you’re feeling good, awesome. But if you’re feeling trapped or find that your job is sucking the life out of you, it’s time to get inspired and change it up. Finding a job you love may require a bit of legwork, but the return on investment is well worth it.

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