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Sunday, October 02, 2016

Five Tips To Find Passion and Purpose In Your Current Career


Millennials are most driven to achieve when they align their careers with their life purpose. Half are even willing to take a pay cut in order to follow a path that has personal meaning for them. And yet research shows that nearly 50% of American workers are unsatisfied with their current employment.

With all the time you spend on the job, it’s worth the effort to be in the half of the population that enjoys what they do for a living. Not only will it bring you greater day-to-day satisfaction and success, but also, studies show, fulfillment at work is correlated with long-term health and happiness.

Still, not everyone already in a career has the option of starting over right away. Perhaps you have financial or family obligations that restrict you to earning a certain salary or living in a specific location. Furthermore, not everyone fresh out of school or on the job market will find the “perfect fit.”

So what happens if you feel stuck having to take or keep a job that doesn’t completely align with your life purpose? Are there ways you can find meaning and passion in your current career?

The answer is yes.

You have the power to tap into purpose in your present job, and to reframe what you do so that it has more personal meaning to you. So that it inspires you and makes you feel like going to work in the morning. So that you have the energy to make a positive impact on your organization and your colleagues, all the while building your own self-esteem. Here are a few ideas for how to take charge.

1.  Cut and Paste Your Responsibilities
Most jobs involve certain duties and obligations that we don’t want to perform, and others that we look forward to attacking with gusto. The question is, are there some duties you strongly dislike that you could off-load or share with someone else? Are there certain tasks you love that you could offer to take on more of within your current role?

Spend some time listing what you most love and most revile about your job. Then see if there isn’t room to make a few adjustments. You may never get out of quarterly financial reporting, but can your manager alleviate some of your duties in exchange for your taking on greater responsibility in another domain? If you positively adore leading meetings, perhaps you can talk to your boss about providing you with more opportunities to do just that.

A little bit of “cutting and pasting” job responsibilities can go a long way towards improving your day-to-day experience.

2.  Tap into a Higher Corporate Purpose

As a professional writer, I have to spend many hours for every book project I complete copyediting – doing the tedious work of fact-checking, correcting spelling and punctuation. I don’t enjoy this process, but I know that it’s one of my responsibilities. I won’t ever get out of it. I have accepted the reality and dig in when the time comes.

In order to motivate myself during these weeks of drudgery, I tap into a higher purpose. I reflect on the value the book or article I’m writing is contributing to the world. I remember that the loathsome detail work is required if I want to create something worthwhile. This helps me stick with the copyediting and not lose focus.

Even if you don’t connect to your organization’s primary objective of, say, selling more shoes or developing the best database software, is there some aspect of what your company is doing that inspires you? Many businesses these days have explicit goals not just for maximizing profit, but also for the triple bottom line impact: social, environmental,and financial.

What is your company doing to contribute to a larger cause – whether that be employee development, going green, or directly supporting a philanthropic effort such as ending childhood hunger or combatting illiteracy? Speak to your manager about how you can get involved with one of these initiatives. View how your work is contributing, through these corporate efforts, to the greater good. Perhaps you can find meaning there.

3.  Foster a Side Project

An MTV survey revealed that 78% of Millennials believe it is important to have a side project that can grow into a different career. Many companies today officially support programs in which their employees devote ten or even 20% of their time to passion projects. Making time for doing what you love, either on the job (if possible) or at home in the evenings and on weekends, can contribute significantly to your daily happiness.

One of my life coaching clients, Larry, worked at a top-notch tech company in Silicon Valley, a dream job for many. While he felt honored to have a position with so many perks, he silently suffered. Larry admitted to me that he didn’t enjoy his role of managing a small, unsuccessful mobile phone division of the enormous company. It didn’t align with his values or get his juices flowing.

I encouraged Larry to focus on a side project. He told me that he loved fidgeting with technology in order to improve mapping software. While he never did parlay this hobby into a full-time job with his corporate employer, Larry did eventually build a product decent enough to leave his job and strike out on his own as an entrepreneur.

4.  Give Yourself a New Job Title

Do you feel like you’re just not that important? Your job doesn’t matter? That you’re a tiny cog in the huge corporate wheel? Perhaps there is an opportunity here to reframe your career. Can you redefine it in a way that makes you feel more passionate?

A recent CNN article pointed to research in which hospital cleaning staff wrote themselves new job titles. Instead of “maintenance workers” responsible for emptying bedpans and sweeping floors, they were encouraged to think of themselves as “caregivers” and “ambassadors from the hospital.” This simple cognitive step helped the staff find greater enjoyment in their jobs. Furthermore, they ended up performing their duties with more care.

Can you do the same with your job? Give yourself a new title, and have fun with it. Instead of “personal assistant,” call yourself “Organizational Maven.” Rather than “retail salesperson,” how about “Champion?” Go beyond “consultant” to “Visionary.” Top executives at major companies invent wild titles for themselves – of note, Chade Meng-Tan, one of my heroes, who calls himself Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow.” Why don’t you do the same?
5.  Relish Your Personal Contribution to the World

In the end, you may find meaning simply in knowing that by doing your job, showing up, and earning money, you are supporting yourself, as well as potentially a spouse, children, and/ or aging parents. You can gain fulfillment in appreciating your role as a caretaker and provider. Take pride in that. Find the value in your work in your own heart.

Forbe

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Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of readers and not that of Funmy Kemmy.

I could be reached by e-mail: funmykemmy2009@gmail.com. Catch Ya!