ATD Blog

Career Wellbeing

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gallup researchers recently conducted studies of people in more than 150 countries to identify core elements that define human wellbeing. Their research is detailed in Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter.  Their findings describe the human experience from suffering to thriving in five universal categories of wellbeing: career, social, financial, physical, and community.

Career wellbeing was determined to be the most critical of the five elements. “Career” is defined as what you do each day and how you occupy your time, including home and family care, volunteer work, community participation, school, or other activities. To determine career wellbeing, the researchers asked: “do you like what you do each day?” If you answer “yes,” as did about 20 percent of the people surveyed, you are likely thriving in your career wellbeing.

Career wellbeing is critical. While all the aspects of wellbeing are interrelated, the research found that levels of wellbeing recovered more quickly after the death of a close loved one than they did from a long period of unemployment. This becomes very relevant in today’s career marketplace where unemployment has hovered between 8-10% over the last years of recession. People need to regain their career wellbeing and there are several great resources out there for people to reinvest and reemploy themselves.


Recognizing the need for online tools to help job seekers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration developed The website helps laid-off workers and other career changers find and explore new career options. These online tools can help people get back into the workforce and improve their wellbeing! Users can walk through the career planning and job search features on CareerOneStop, including interactive tools and step-by-step guides. People can explore careers and profile their skills, create an effective resume, learn how to search for jobs, find training programs and education credentials to help boost their skills, and even find resources to help explore a career switch.

For more information on the book and their findings, visit

About the Author

Nancy Jacobsen holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and certificates from the Wharton School Aresty Institute of Executive Education for Work Based Learning Leadership. She also studied Mandarin Chinese at Taipei Language Institute in Taiwan, and completed a Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Chicago. She resides in St. Paul, MN with her husband, Jerry, and their Golden Retriever, Odin.

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