There are two factors that overwhelmingly determine how much you will enjoy work and successful you’ll be. The first factor, mentioned in an interview with Sheryl Sandberg, is: Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? The second factor is articulated by LinkedIn CEO Spencer Rascoff in this article:
I spend most of my time at Zillow recruiting and retaining great people… What do I tell them to try to convince them to join Zillow? Growth is fun. When you’re growing, people are optimistic, and there is ample opportunity for career growth. Great people achieve great things and have extraordinary careers when they join companies in hyper-growth mode. It’s much harder to carve out an interesting and successful career – regardless of your personal attributes – if your company is in slow-growth mode or worse still, if it is shrinking.
That’s it. Only two things matter for individuals: (1) Do you get to do what you are best at / love doing every day? (2) Are you in a company where growth and success will spawn opportunities for you?
Two implications for companies flow from this: (1) Make sure your people are doing what they love; (2) Put your best people in the areas of highest potential growth.