Career Satisfaction – Is Happiness Enough?

Career satisfaction, happy business man celebrating at his desk

Do you know what the number one response recruiters get when they ask anyone about their desire to hear about new opportunities? Yup, “I’m happy here.” So, I must assume that everyone that we speak to – as recruiters – is experiencing perfect career satisfaction in their current position, but you and I both know that is not the case. Because if it were, there would never be any movement from firm to firm. Why the reluctance to really state that they are unhappy? The answer is most people are happy where they are in their station in life. We’ve talked about complacency in previous blogs, and that is not where I am going with this one. Happiness is subjective, but when you’ve been at a firm for a while, happiness is just assumed. But is happiness enough? Does happiness pay the bills? Does happiness set you up for a great retirement program? Does happiness fill in what your real need is?

More Than Just “Happiness”

I am willing to guess the answer is no. So, we have to get past happiness and look at brass tacks. To coin a phrase, you must look beyond your apparent happiness and look at your own financial situation and see what your future financial situation is going to look like. By asking yourself these tough questions, it may become apparent that you are not on the trajectory that you really want to be on for your future goals and personal and professional development. So, happiness may be an immediate response to a recruiter’s call, but having the conversation may unearth information and new opportunities you were unaware of. This is especially occurring now with bankers or even bond counsels who have been at the same firm for quite a while. They are starting to ask themselves the tough questions.

The Bigger Picture

Lately, we have been receiving calls from the same people. They are starting to admit to themselves that they are happy, but they may not be as financially content as they thought a year ago. This is especially true now that the two largest firms have exited the public finance space. Their exit has caused others to question their own career satisfaction and position in the world of public finance, as well as their own individual financial outlook. We can look to what has happened in Texas as an example. Bankers were happy with their situation and now, they find themselves not always being able to bank the clients they could previously. This is only one area of disruption; there are many others. The happiness factor is now being weighed against their ability to earn the living they were once able to. We all want to be happy, but a major component of happiness is our financial position.

Ask the Tough Questions

At the end of the day, you must be comfortable with the amount of money you will be able to provide for your family and yourself as we continue to age in our profession and personally. It’s important to move past the immediate response of happiness and consider what could potentially make you less comfortable in the short run but financially content in the long run. So, is happiness enough? That’s a question you have to answer for yourself. I encourage you to look past the immediate response we often tell ourselves and consider the potential benefits of taking the next call when a recruiter reaches out to you. They may have opportunities that could improve your life in several ways, including financially. In the end, happiness may indeed be enough. Finally, if this topic resonates with you, don’t wait for the recruiter to call – reach out and have a call with a specialist in your niche; you may be very surprised by what a recruiter can share with you. Total career satisfaction may only be a phone call away.


You don’t need a resume to chat with us! If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. We have also been mentioned in Forbes, click HERE to read for yourself. 

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.