Positive Psychology and Alternative Careers

By Susanna Halonen, Happyologist (Guest Blogger)


Susanna Halonen graduated from BA (Hons) Global Marketing Management at Regent’s University London in 2009 and now runs her own successful business called Happyologist. As this week’s guest blogger, she writes about her journey and insight into positive psychology.

After graduating from Regent’s, I was excited to start my career in the corporate world. But this excitement didn’t last long, as after two years, I realised it wasn’t the world I wanted to immerse myself into.

I discovered positive psychology through Shawn Achor’s ‘The Happiness Advantage’ and realised I wanted to create my own business to make people happier and organisations a better place to work. I understood that happiness fuels productivity and performance in many ways. My coach helped me realise this wasn’t a crazy idea, but something that could work.

During my third (and last) year at Sony, I spent all my free time outside of work building the foundations for my business. I took little steps – from training courses, coaching accreditations to connecting with people in the industry. This confirmed that this was what I wanted to do. I completed a Masters in Positive Psychology and set up Happyologist. Today, I get to do what I love every day.

Testing the obvious career choices does help you figure out what you like and don’t like. But do think creatively on the different opportunities out there. I used to think psychology was all about therapy – until I discovered that positive psychology is all about making people perform at their best.

Many roles have psychology in them, such as a manager understanding how to bring the best out of their team and a marketer understanding consumer behaviour. But if you’re looking for psychology to be your focus, you could explore the following:

Coaching: A coach uses a variety of non-directive techniques to help their client to find the answers within themselves to help them reach a specific goal or result. There can be different focuses for a coach e.g. leadership coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching.

Facilitator: If you thrive in leading groups of people towards a common goal, this could be your thing. Facilitators can run workshops, manage big off-site meetings or run team building events.

Employee engagement: Bigger companies have employee engagement teams which run internal company events, organise internal campaigns and ensure the facilities (e.g. gym, social area, coffee shop) are up to standard to help keep the employees happy.

Recruitment: When done right, this is all about finding a candidate that’s a psychological fit with a role. Usually it should incorporate psychometric testing and behavioural interviews.

These are only a handful of the different opportunities out there, but hopefully it will get you thinking about how you can put your skills to use in something you enjoy.

There is also no right or wrong answer on whether running your own business is your thing. If you’re ready to give it a shot and have the financial stability to do it, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try. Good luck!

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