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CAREERS: Secrets of success from people who love, love, LOVE their jobs

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THE LADDERS – So you found the love of your life? Congrats. But what about the career of your life? Much like a relationship, your attitude, and mentality toward your job changes over time and through various stages. While sometimes you might have those butterfly twangs when you’re working on a certain project or deadline, other times you might be overflowing with toxicity, dreading heading into the office.

Since you arguably spend more time working than with your partner, your family or friends, having a mostly loving attitude toward your career will ensure you are fulfilled for decades. For those who have struggled to nail down their passion and motivations, ‘falling in love’ with work can seem as impossible as snagging Prince Charming. Luckily, these talented professionals have landed in a career they adore and have shared their tips for success, right in time for Valentine’s Day:

‘Determine your top priority’

Kate Albers is an executive producer in the audio branch of Decibel, a New York-based digital, interactive and creative post-production studio. In her role, Albers is challenged with managing audio engineers, working with clients and meeting tight deadlines under super-high stress. Even so, Albers says it’s the high-paced industry that allows her to see — in real time! — the fruits of her labor that make her adore her gig.

“Once you recognize how much talent it takes to create the sound of someone walking through mud, or a car revving its engine, you understand that sound work you can change the entire viewing experience,” she says. “It’s gratifying to deliver beautiful sounding commercials to clients and know that they trust you with their brand’s vision.”

Even if producing audio isn’t your jam, Albers says those seeking to find a fulfilling career should focus on one very keyword: happiness. After all, if you’re going to do something day-in and day-out, it should be a positive experience, instead of one that’s taxing to even think about.

“My biggest advice for career seekers would be to keep an open mind and decide what aspect of your job is most important to you! My priority is to be happy every day,” Albers shared. “Since entering the workforce, I would look at every opportunity presented to me to determine if it was something I would enjoy.”

‘Prioritize who you work with’Though account manager at The Avenue West, Frances Blount loves managing everything from public relations strategy and client relations to new business development, it’s her team that makes the greatest impact on her endorphin level. That’s why she says those seeking a new gig should prioritize the culture and the people before accepting an offer.

“Surrounding myself with such creative, talented and driven co-workers means that work doesn’t feel like ‘work’ and I actually enjoy being at the office. I don’t even mind working late because I know my team is there to support me and to support each other,” Blount says. “No matter if you’re working on a professional goal or a personal goal, having co-workers that motivate and support you is so important if you want your career to be fulfilling. Hold out for a job where you love the company culture, and your success will naturally fall into place.”
‘Don’t just choose a career just because you’re good at it’

Even though Brittany Finkle, the founder and CEO of Happily Ever Borrowed is stellar at math, number games never interested her. Instead, she wanted to help women find accessories on a manageable budget, inspiring her to build her own company that allows brides-to-be to rent veils, jewelry, and other must-haves.

Witnessing women have their dreams come true brings joy to her life, even if she had to work hard at developing the brand. That’s why she says it’s less important to choose a career simply because it comes easy to you, and instead, find out what you’re passionate about and stay focused on developing the skill sets you need to accomplish your goal. “There are ways I can use my strengths in my everyday job, but I’ve catered it in a way to fulfill the passion I have for fashion, and the passion I have for creating magical customer moments. Find a way to marry both your passion to your skillset and you’ll be sure to excel in your career,” she shares.
‘If you’ve wanted to work for yourself, do it’

More than 20 years ago, Dr. Marsha Firestone founded The Women Presidents’ Organization after noticing a lack of programs for women who achieved entrepreneur success. Today, the global membership program helps women accomplish their goals through training, peer-learning groups, and many other offerings. Considering she believes economic security is the key to a stable life, Dr. Firestone says helping female entrepreneurs reach their potential every single day is one of the qualities she values the most in her job. “The precious ability to tap into the wisdom of their peers offers business wisdom, as well as support, empowerment, and inspiration. It is incredibly satisfying to watch WPO members scale their businesses,” she shares.

Though she may, ahem, be a bit biased, for those who are looking to achieve fulfillment and happiness in their careers, Dr. Firestone challenges women to take that leap of faith into the unknown of entrepreneurialism. “The future of our global economy will be fueled by the rising number of women entrepreneurs who bring life to business across the economic spectrum. If you are worn out by the demands and hours of corporate life and want to be paid what you deserve, think about starting your own business,” she explains.

And for females, being your own boss lady can be that much more impactful. “Entrepreneurship is the great equalizer for women. You create a culture you can believe in, have power and influence, and control your time. You pay yourself more: 75% of our members pay themselves six-figure incomes,” Firestone says. “At a time when women make an average of 80 cents for every dollar men make, female entrepreneurs can pay themselves as much as they deserve; they also have more influence and power.”

‘Don’t force it’

Liz Toombs, C.I.D., and owner of PDR Interiors has found a niche in fraternity and sorority housing, working with a number of Greek organizations and college campuses nationwide. Since she runs the company, Toombs says many aspects bring her joy — from working with a variety of people and enjoying days that are never the same as the ones before, she derives happiness from her career.

Even if you aren’t going to branch out into the CEO world, Toombs says it’s important to never be complacent in a role that simply isn’t working.

“Pay attention to what excites you and then determine how to parlay that into a career. Don’t force yourself into a certain career just because you think it looks like a ‘fun’ job. It must be something you are passionate about, or in two years, you’ll fizzle out,” she shares. “If your gut is telling to pursue a career path, then go for it! There’s a lot to be said for wanting to get up and go to work every day instead of dreading it.”

Lindsay Tigar is a seasoned lifestyle and travel writer. When she’s not busy writing, she’s collecting another passport stamp, taking a boxing class or trying new foods. A full collection of her work can be found at lindsaytigar.com @LindsayTigar

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