In a recent TED Talk, Chip Conley referred to “a survey that showed that 94 percent of business leaders worldwide believe that the intangibles are important in their business, things like intellectual property, their corporate culture, their brand loyalty, and yet, only five percent of those same leaders actually had a means of measuring the intangibles in their business. So as leaders, we understand that intangibles are important, but we don’t have a clue how to measure them.

Conley takes exception to Einstein’s notion that “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” He set out to measure those intangibles. His quest took him to Bhutan, the happiest country on earth, where, the king told him, “Listen, Bhutan’s goal is not to create happiness. We create the conditions for happiness to occur. In other words, we create a habitat of happiness.”

More companies should do that. But individuals don’t need to wait for their company to do the job for them. We can make the “habitat of happiness” part of our career plan.

Dollars-per-hour or annual salary are the easiest measures. But there are other, richer ways to measure. Divide the salary by the number of hours you’re actually working. Add on the hours you spend on   your commute.

Does your work connect to your “real life” with social and recreational activities, or do you need to keep those things going in your spare time?

Does your work give you a sense of meaning, or do you have to seek that, too, in your non-working hours?

I thought about these things when I interviewed Karletta Crawford, who said many nurses shy away from home care as a career because of the lower rates of reimbursement. First and foremost, let me say that pediatric home care nurses should be worth their weight in gold, and I hope Pediatric Home Service succeeds in getting reimbursement increased. And I know that flexibility doesn’t pay the mortgage.

But imagine a job that’s in your own neighborhood, that doesn’t require a drive to the freeway. Imagine a job that doesn’t require you to pack a lunch on your own time, or spend your own money in the cafeteria. Imagine a job that occasionally includes a trip to Valley Fair or even a cabin in Wisconsin–not to mention an occasional trip to Target or Cub Foods.

And imagine a job that leaves you feeling fulfilled most working days.

“Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is an oversimplification. But if you can do the things you love and need to do during the workday, that’s a higher ROI.



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