tiny house

The Tiny House Movement: Taking Stock of What's Most Important in Your Career

Annamarie Lang Blog

tiny house

You may have heard of the “tiny house” movement and wondered, with good reason, what in the world are those people thinking?

Tiny houses are architecturally unique domiciles that can range from as large as 400 square feet – the size of a decent sized hotel room—to as small as 80 square feet. Many are mobile, allowing the owners to move them at will. Enthusiasts claim the diminutive structures are not just oddities; they are, in fact, part of a new approach to life.

Less is more. Only use what you need. Don’t live your life under the constant pressure of trying to acquire more and bigger and better things. Sarah Susanka, an American architect and author, is widely credited with starting the movement after publishing her book, The Not So Big Life. In it, she stresses the idea of building better, not bigger. And how building smaller can be more fulfilling.

“The not so big house is about how to introduce spirit and personality into our homes,” Susanka tells readers on her website. “The book is also about giving up the spaces we don't really use and end up making a house feel soulless."

The symbolic message in Susanka’s book is something that can be translated to so many aspects of our life. Such as our careers.

So many of us pursue career goals that are the equivalent of the overbuilt house: we are constantly angling for a bigger office, a more important job title, a leadership role, or more money and power. It’s not unusual for people to achieve these things and find they are oddly unfulfilling.

As demonstrated by tiny house advocates, the best careers are the ones that give us all that we need, maybe not all that we think we want. The path to true career happiness is realizing when we’re getting what we need, enjoying what we're doing and finding satisfaction and meaning.

It’s not unusual for people of some accomplishment to diminish or disparage their own careers because they haven’t become the biggest or the best in their fields. These people forget that the people who achieve biggest and best often do so by focusing on a career path that allows them to do things they are good at, really enjoy, and give them a lot of satisfaction. These people find happiness by doing things where they can succeed; it’s never a good idea to pursuing a job you don’t like, or that you are not good at, simply to get ahead.

The tiny house movement can also be a source of practical advice, particularly for those of us in the throes of job search. Tiny house enthusiasts take careful stock of what they really need for a good life, and ditch those things that are superfluous or that don’t really deliver on their promise.

This is directly relevant to job search strategies. It’s critically important while looking for a new job to ditch pointless or fruitless activities, and focus on the core activities that move us forward in our ultimate goal.

The same goes for structuring a resumé. Don’t pad your CV with a lot of details about things you aren’t really good at or don't want to keep doing; emphasize a smaller list of things that you know you do well and enjoy. That will help you find jobs where you have a much better chance at success and satisfaction.

Take a long look at your career, and set goals that will help you achieve all your dreams. But along the way, learn to take satisfaction from what you have accomplished and use that to help identify and focus on what’s really most important in your career.

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