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Does Your Work Cultivate Your Energy—Or Drain It?

woman sitting in office at work wondering if her work cultivates her energy

In gardening, cultivating involves more than yanking weeds. It’s a process of breaking down and loosening the soil so that air can flow and water can reach the places it needs to. It allows the plants in the garden to feel fully nourished. 

Draining water from the garden, on the other hand, results in dehydrated and lifeless sprouts—which is not terribly unlike how employees in energy-draining roles and companies often feel. Perhaps you know what I mean. 

Sunday evenings bring a wave of dread, but Monday mornings are even worse. As soon as you walk through the door, you feel energy gets sapped right out of your body. So much to be done. So little support for doing it. 

And it’s impossible not to carry those feelings home with you. Before long, you notice your loved ones are getting tired of your “work stories.” And you get it. They’ve turned into complaints more than stories. 

At some point, you have to ask yourself: Is this job cultivating my energy or is it draining it?

How An Energy-Draining Career Can Affect Every Part Of Your Well-Being

Energy-draining careers can do more than make you feel unhappy at work—they can leave you completely exhausted. You feel physically and mentally depleted at the end of each day, and the following will more than likely happen: 

  • You’re always complaining to your friends and family. 
  • You’re too tired to take care of your loved ones. 
  • You’re too tired to take care of yourself, so you make unhealthy decisions. 
  • You get sick often or suffer from chronic aches and pains. 
  • You give off negative energy to those around you. 

And if you’re nodding your head along, you’re not alone. 

In a 2022 Mind The Workplace report, Mental Health America (MHA) found that 80% of employees report that workplace stress affects their relationships with their family and friends.

Another study from 2020 found that when faced with work-related stress, women are more prone to overeat, and men are more likely to turn to drugs. 

And yet another study found that workplace stress is linked to 70% of doctor visits and 85% of serious illnesses.

Yikes. With the consequences that severe, it seems obvious to get out ASAP. But what can be done? How can you find a career that cultivates your energy?

I always find it a good idea to start with reflection. 

10 Questions: A Reflection On Energy + Work

Open a blank doc or turn to a blank page in your journal. Then, think back to the last week/month/season/year, and ask yourself:

  1. What’s NOT working? Why do you think that is? 
  2. What IS working? Why do you think that is? 
  3. Are you learning and being challenged? 
  4. Do you like the people you work with? 
  5. Is your job making a positive contribution to the world? 
  6. Are there growth opportunities? 
  7. What are you craving more or less of? 
  8. What would be fun?!
  9. Is your job aligned with your core + lifestyle values? 
  10. When you evaluate what’s not working, is there an opportunity to reassign those tasks or automate them?

3 Steps To Finding Work That Will Cultivate Your Energy

  1. Define your core values.

The first step involves inward reflection. A firm grasp of your core values will guide you through even the most difficult decisions. You’ll want to identify the values that are meaningful to you so that you can then uncover companies that are aligned with those values and how you want to make an impact.

  1. Identify companies aligned with your interests. 

Then, you want to take a deep dive into your interests. How do you spend your time outside of work? What types of books and publications do you love to read? If time/money/location wasn’t an issue, what would you do for work? When in school, which classes did you do well in or look forward to? 

The idea is to then take those interests and uncover companies/roles/industries that would feel fun to you. Career quizzes and assessments can also be helpful to help expand your ideas.  

  1. Pinpoint roles that leverage your strengths (and that you actually enjoy!).
two women co-workers laughing while working

Sometimes we’re good at things, but we don’t like them. So we want to do more than find roles that fit your strengths. We want to find roles that fit your strengths and that you actually enjoy. 

Try asking others (friends, colleagues, family, managers, etc.) for feedback on what you’re good at. Sometimes an outside perspective is all you need to uncover strengths you hadn’t recognized in yourself before.   

The Hallmarks Of An Energy-Cultivating Career 

When you find a career that cultivates your energy, you’ll feel excited to start each workday and feel accomplished at the end of each one. And that’s because you know you are contributing to something that makes you feel good. You’re making full use of your strengths—the skills you’re good at AND that you love to do. You feel confident in creating new projects/products, have professional friends who you love to collaborate with, and make time for your health and well-being. And it’s completely possible. 

How Flourish Careers Can Help

If you’re ready to find your most fulfilling career by discovering your value and finding the place where you belong, we’re here to help.

Fried to Flourishing, my signature coaching experience, is heart-based career planning designed specifically for those feeling stuck in an energy-draining role or company. 

Recently, a Fried to Flourishing client messaged me: 

“Jenn, I just picked my head up from an hour of being lost in work, and I feel so ENERGIZED! So, I wanted to send you a note to say how grateful I am to have found my little niche. I never thought I would want to be a consultant, but it turns out that my combination of influencing skills and love of deep thinking + analysis is perfect for this kind of work.”

When you join, you’ll get instant access to an online course, expertly curated resources, access to our private like-minded community for added accountability, weekly LIVE Q&A sessions with me, and so much more. 

Essentially, it’s the first step to finding your most fulfilling career. Let’s ignite the spark that will move you from fried to flourishing…together. 


Flourish Careers is a career coaching and consulting business dedicated to helping individuals find their unique path to flourishing professional success. Learn more about how I can help you here.

Does Your Work Cultivate Your Energy—Or Drain It?

Does Your Work Cultivate Your Energy—Or Drain It?

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