Why Awards, Pay Rises and Promotions Don’t Make Me Happy.

Last week I was pondering a fantastic job opportunity. It had presented itself out of the blue via a friend who knew it was up my street. On paper, it was great but the scope scared me. I had one of those dithery weeks. If you’ve ever tried to grow a business whilst mothering two small kids with emerging personalities and viruses off the back of very little sleep, you’ll know how decision making can become a challenge, especially when it comes to a work opportunity which may require extra time and a great deal of self belief.

At the hub of this dithering was a big dilemma. Whether I should aim for the big stuff, the ambition and the potential for greater notoriety, to be involved in a brilliant new movement – or perhaps whether I needed to pull back. It made me wonder – what is it that I need from opportunities to have job satisfaction?

The big shouty stuff, more money, more responsibility or perhaps something more humble and more day to day.

For all its fantastic marketing opportunities, social media brings with it a bit of a shouty culture. Something I’ve never been comfortable with. You know those appraisals where you have to say how great you are. That’s what it feels like to me. ‘Hey I’m Karen and I’m awesome. In fact I am THE best at what I do and THIS is why.’ Perhaps I undersell myself sometimes, in fact I’m sure I do – but I’ve always preferred a more considered approach to marketing. More gentle. Less pushy.

Then there are practical things like mortgages, rents and bills to pay. Modern life is expensive. We need to focus on our bottom line or pay grades in order to live.

And of course we are currently experiencing a resurgence of sorts of feminism. The Women’s Equality Party is growing fast. Our monthly glossies are touting feminism’s fresh, new angle. Something for all women. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but sometimes it carries with it a pressure. If you are an ambitious woman, you need to own your ambition and take on the big roles, something I often felt as a Management Consultant at the start of my working life. Taking a side step to create more job satisfaction wasn’t an option for a successful bright woman. I was expected to want to get stuck into the thick of it and go for promotions.

But what of the small stuff?

What of the little moments of praise or affirmation that make your heart swell?

For me they come in the form of emails to say a blog post has really helped someone out of a fix.

They come from chatting to someone after an event where I’ve spoken to say their story was so in tune with my words and they feel motivated to do something differently.

They come from cards from class participants who totally get what it is I am offering. More than a Pilates class, an exercise habit which improves life quality and makes exercise a fun, social experience.

They come from the lone participant who changes their mind about staying at home because their anxiety disorder is so stifling – and who choses to come to my class because they know it is safe and will make them feel better.

They come from the young mother who is now able to jog and enjoy life again because

I could choose countless examples.

Yes the accolades, the national notoriety, getting published in the national press, the awards and the pats on the back on these achievements are incredible but they are also transitory. What really serves as my praise (and boy don’t you need to get praise when you work for yourself) is the small stuff, the daily interactions that make you skip to class, fuel your creativity or just make it a GOOD day.

It’s not about the need for approval – that’s what the big stuff is about. The little interactions instead let you know that your business message, your reason for doing what you do, is being heard. That what you do resonates and works. Is this not the ultimate in job satisfaction?

So I pondered the job opportunity and I still want it. Not because of the notoriety it might afford but because of the opportunity it would give me to work with some incredible female minds, because it is a concept that I whole heartedly agree with, which fits with my values and because it would afford me more ways to impact the lives of individuals in order the generate ‘the small stuff’.

Because, for me,  in the middle of all ‘the noise’ the little moments of praise are precisely what I need in order to enjoy the journey.


Do you want to come and spend a Saturday afternoon with me working on your writing?

Do you have a project you’re working on which needs a little one to one focus?

I’m hosting a writing workshop on the afternoon of Saturday 27th February in Epping Forest. For more information check out the event information.

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Contact me - karenlisalaing@gmail.com. Also on all social media platforms.


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