If you’re like me, you’ve probably had some experience working as a successful professional in a certain career field. In our society, it serves us well to stay in a certain job for a long period of time. We get the chance to move up, get promoted, learn a lot about the profession, get bonuses and raises, and invest into our retirement accounts so that we can provide for ourselves and our loved ones and enjoy a pleasant retirement and quality time in our golden years. I’m very grateful for the opportunity that I had to get a degree from a good university and then use my knowledge and skills in a job for 17 years.
Working hard and providing for our families, ourselves, and our future are honorable goals, and they’re necessities if we’re going to both survive and thrive. However, I have found in my own life, and from others that I’ve talked to, that having success in the professional sphere doesn’t necessarily seem to have any bearing on the happiness or fulfillment we experience in our life, either during or outside of our time at work.
As I’ve said before, I’m currently pursuing certification to become a life and health coach. In the last few years, I have left my job, had another child, and am now embarking on a new career path. I don’t think that everyone needs to do actions this extreme to bring congruence to their professional life. I do, however, think it takes an extreme shift in perspective to realize that you bring unique value to the world, and that the way that you share it is in your daily life.
Finding the right career is hard, as anyone who has ever had to guide a child through the process can surely tell you! There are so many options and so many possibilities. This can be incredibly exciting, but the volume of choice can also feel paralyzing. Plus, once you start in one direction ,it can be terrifying or demoralizing to feel like you’ve made the wrong decision and wasted your time and efforts. Everyone also has a unique set of personality traits and learned skills from the course of their life that contributes to a potentially “perfect” job match.
Two people working in the exact same job might have two entirely different experiences. One person might be there because of financial security and the provision of all of those things I talked about earlier, while another may get value from the alignment of their belief system and core values in putting those things towards their work. We may feel like we’re never going to find exactly the right job for us, or that we’ve tried many things and not gotten anywhere. I hope to encourage you that even if you’re in the wrong job temporarily, or even if you feel trapped, you can always spark a shift in perspective that will make your working experience a more positive one and will bring a feeling of congruence to your life so that you don’t feel like you have to check your passions, personality, and perspective at the door when you clock in.
Start the process of this shift by asking these simple questions.
1. Do you feel you bring value to the world?
2. How do you define that value?
3. Is what you do meaningful to you?
4. Is what you do meaningful to anyone around you?
This week, I’d like to encourage you to start keeping a “feel-good folder.” Of course, this doesn’t have to be a folder. It could be a jar, or a digital file on your desktop, or any other place that you can tangibly write down things from your career that remind you that what you do and who you are has meaning. Even people who spend their entire lives running hugely important organizations or giving back to their communities need to be reminded that what they do has value, and so do you! Write down any small encouragements you receive and store them here so that the next time you’re having a rough day, questioning what you’re even doing in this job, you can pull them out and be reassured that you have value and you’re sharing it with others.