A 2016 study by Gallup reports that only “29% of Millennials are actively engaged in their job.” This trend of being disengaged in your career is set to continue through future generations. But why is it that so many young people are unhappy in their careers and what can we do about it? The amount of advice we receive from friends, family and even successful people about how to guide our careers is almost overwhelming. Yet, over the last decade more and more young people have been straying from the traditional wisdom not only to find more fulfilling jobs, but to set in motion careers that can make the world a better place.
If you’re the sort of person that is still searching for happiness and fulfilment in your career, or if you haven’t found inspiration from the traditional careers advice to “Follow your passion” or “Do what you’re good at”, then having a career on purpose could be for you.
Having a career on purpose is a new approach to finding a fulfilling career. It’s not that the traditional advice is bad or wrong but, as we know, it doesn’t work for everyone. Guiding your career on purpose is the process of clarifying an inspiring and personal reason that you want to go to work, beyond just a pay-cheque.
Critics may say that the purpose of a job is solely to make money – plain and simple. But you can make money in almost any job, so this thought process doesn’t help guide our careers, it only justifies them. For the average person, one third of your life is spent at work. One third. If you are expecting to spend a third of your life disengaged and unhappy, I believe you are selling yourself short and limiting your potential unnecessarily.
Because you can make money in almost any job, one way to find fulfilment in our jobs is to guide our careers by a different compass. Your purpose isn’t something new you need to make. It’s already concrete in your past through the way you have positively helped others and made an impact in the world. You just need to uncover it.
The reason having a career on purpose can be more inspiring than the advice to “do what you’re passionate about” is because following your passion isn’t the only way to enjoy your career. Similarly, the advice to simply “do what you’re good at” is aimed at success in our careers, usually at the expense of our personal fulfilment and wellbeing. I believe that following your purpose allows us to not only enjoy every day at work, but to also have a career doing something we’re good at. The bottom line is that having a positive impact on others creates a fulfilling career.
The way we can use a purpose guided career to enhance our jobs and allow us to make a real difference in the world is by giving difficult decisions common context. We all make difficult decisions in our careers. Whether it’s accepting a lower paying job that we think will be more enjoyable, going to university or higher education against starting your career earlier, or perhaps which advice to take from successful people. It is hard to know what decision is right for us. If we are searching for more fulfilling careers we need to guide our decision on what has motivated us to help others throughout our lives. This is our purpose.
In order to find your personal purpose and begin to create a more fulfilling and satisfying career, you need to look back at your life and the way in which you have helped others. Write down the ways that throughout your life you have added genuine value to the lives of others. Next, detail how you did this; if you are an artist or musician perhaps you create to have a positive impact, through sports this could be inspire, or from a more data oriented approach to having a positive impact this may be analyse or organise. For each time you can recall that you have had a positive impact on others and made the world a better place, detail how you did it. Lastly, you need to understand why you did it. Were you making someone happier? Were you helping people reach potential? Or did you do it to get higher performance for a goal or task? If your ‘why’ was working towards something bigger than yourself like climate change, why is that something you pursue? What’s the bottom line that you are trying to impact through your action?
The trends you can see in how and why you help others are proof that throughout your life you have been guided by a hidden force. A purpose that helps others and makes the world a better place. To use what has guided and brought you happiness in your career, you must ask yourself “how does each decision guide me towards my purpose and what I know is genuinely important to me?” If you guide your career on what you know has motivated you to make a positive impact throughout your life, you can have confidence that this will guide you towards a fulfilling and satisfying career making the world a better place.
By Jake Richings
Give this article a rating below!