Are Fulfillment and Stability Mutually Exclusive?


One of the many repercussions of this pandemic is an escalation in job transitions. In recent months I have fielded more and more questions about job/career transitions. But I have had equally as many conversations with clients about the relationship between work fulfillment and job stability as they contemplate a transition. I often hear: “I want to experience more fulfilling work BUT I need stability”.

For some the pandemic has caused outright job loss, for others it has meant a suspension of work for a prolonged period, and for many it has been the shift to working from home. Whether an individual is forced to face a job transition or whether a transition seems suddenly worth contemplating, many have begun to question the stability of their jobs, professions, and incomes over time. In my conversations clients have reflected on the way they had been working before the pandemic, the pace and structure of their days, the stress they might have experienced but ignored, or the overall meaning their work held (holds) for them. For many clients, this unusual time has inadvertently provided the space to pause and to think about our relationship to work. Is it personally meaningful, is it stable, is it both?

Whether we are navigating or contemplating a job transition, fulfillment AND stability are often benchmarks in our search for new job opportunities. But we have to be aware that those benchmarks vary across time: they resonate differently depending on the stage of life and work we are at.

While job stability is often associated with salary and benefits, stability can also be the result of reliable and consistent work hours, a safe work environment, clearly communicated expectations and responsibilities, and work place policies and structures that promote the wellbeing of employees and mitigate against excessive stress and discrimination.

Here are three examples:

When we are recognized, acknowledged and valued for our unique assets and for our contributions, we feel more connected to and engaged with the specific work we are doing. When our unique skills, talents, experiences, personality, capabilities are fully active and align with the role(s) we have been given, we experience fulfillment within a backdrop of trusted, reliable (stable) work.

When we are given opportunities in our work environments to grow and to discover new potentials within ourselves we experience the personal fulfillment that comes from developing and expanding our expertise along with a sense of trust, deepened commitment and yes, security, in our workplace.

When we feel a sense of inclusion, when we see that inclusion put in practice around us, we feel encouraged to participate and to contribute to our workplace. We feel connected to our colleagues, we feel the purpose of our work. This leads us to experience our work as meaningful within a reliable (stable) environment.

If you are currently navigating a career transition or thinking about one, what role does fulfillment and stability play as you look for new opportunities? How do you personally define fulfillment and stability? Can we experience fulfillment without stability? Can we forsake fulfillment for stability? Are they mutually exclusive?

Navigating or contemplating a career transition? Contact Britt-Mari at to schedule a consultation call.