I was on a plane while writing this post – eavesdropping. I confess, I enjoy eavesdropping. I chose not to stop myself from indulging, and this post is about what I heard. Hopefully the person who sat next to me was not someone who enjoyed reading over other people’s shoulders.

A woman sitting adjacent to me in the row across the aisle was talking about working from home and how much she loved it. She works for a major bank in their IT department. She has a four-year-old son. Working from home changed her life. She went from 50-hour work weeks on the go – work to home and home to work – to walking downstairs, turning on her computer, and cooking dinner while on a conference call.

Environment has a sizable impact on our sense of happiness with work, but environment alone won’t make you love a job if it’s not the right fit.
When I was looking for a full-time job in San Francisco, I had retail jobs at various points to help make ends meet. One was at a major retailer and one at a bridal boutique. Neither one was the right fit, but each served as a stop-gap until I found something more permanent. At the boutique, unlike the major retailer, I didn’t have to clock in and clock out, and a co-worker didn’t have to rummage through my bag every time I left the store to make sure I wasn’t stealing anything – a typical practice of large retailers. At the boutique, I was working with brides who were excited to be getting married and to try on wedding dresses, not cranky customers that couldn’t find one pair of jeans to fit after trying on fifty. Not to mention, the bridal salon didn’t cycle endlessly through the same Top 40 song list.

Environment made the boutique tolerable, even though working retail wasn’t where I wanted to be.

What are your experiences with environment and how it impacts figuring out fulfillment?