The Path to Professional Fulfillment

Northeastern University Career Development
The Path to Professional Fulfillment

How does one find professional fulfillment?  Where is the perfect intersection of one’s Values, Interests, Personality and Skills (V.I.P.S.)?

Each decision you make may change the course of your professional path.  The key is to have confidence that each decision is the right one for you in that moment of your life.  The more you can develop your V.I.P.S., the stronger your sense of self will be, which will guide your decision making toward professional fulfillment.

While in college you have many opportunities to make different decisions, choosing a major being just one of them.  But, each decision is an opportunity for you to learn about yourself and to understand that the choices you make are deliberate and worthwhile. Each decision brings you to the next immediate step which will present opportunities you may not have considered.  Knowing that you have opportunities to experiment with classes, activities, internships, relationships (just to name a few), will teach you to listen to your intuition, which, in turn will strengthen your V.I.P.S.

You may want to know now what you should/will be doing in the future.  You may be looking for reassurance or advice on how to get there.  Like many of your peers, you may be leaping from where you are today to several years from now.  Of course that can cause anxiety as there are many unknowns between now and then and the path to where you think you want to be may not be clear.  But, if you allow yourself to focus on just the next step, I promise that by carefully making the next decision, you will be on the path of finding professional fulfillment.  If you allow yourself to consider your V.I.P.S. and stay true to them, doors will open to unexpected but exciting opportunities.

The people I meet now who love their jobs have found professional fulfillment.  They are energized by their work.  Someone once said to me that to truly understand if you love your job is to ask yourself, “What parts of my job would I do for free and for which parts do I need to get paid?”

Some of these people had a plan that they followed because perhaps they had started out with a bit more self-awareness.  But others have learned to recognize when their Values, Interests, Personality or Skills were not a match for that particular place or role and made a change.  The stories these people tell share these common themes.

Try something, and reflect.  Ask yourself, “Does this fit in with my values? Does this interest and energize me? Am I enjoying this?”

Then, when the answers to these questions become “No…”

Make a decision, make a change.  This is scary — it’s effort and it’s a possible risk.  Again, think about where the risk can take you and how much better your life will be.  Also ask yourself what the risk will be if you choose what might be the easier path and accept your circumstances.

If you repeat these steps with every new experience you will eventually know intellectually and intuitively what feels right; that is where you will grow and flourish.  This is how you will develop your V.I.P.S.

If each decision you make is truly the right one in that moment, it will be one step in a series that will ultimately lead you to your goal: professional fulfillment.  Right now you may not know what that will look like.  And that’s OK.

Anne Grieves is the Pre-Law / Graduate School Adviser in the Career Development at Northeastern University.  She loves her work and strives to help others find a career / job they will love and that will be fulfilling.  Early in her career she realized that her values, interests, personality and skills come together in college career services.  Everyday this holds true.  She hopes that everyone will discover for themselves where their V.I.P.S intersect.