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Bored? Frustrated? Stuck in a rut? Work feel meaningless?
You probably spend at least 40% of your waking hours at work.
What would it be like if you really enjoyed that time, if it felt like you were doing something important and meaningful, something that mattered?
I spent a decade working as a forensic accountant. I hate details and I’m not a big fan of numbers.
I didn’t see the point of what I was supposed to be doing – it felt pointless. I struggled to find any joy in my working day.
Suffice to say that 40% of my life was not ideal.
I put work in a painful box, and kept it away from the rest of my happy life. I felt drained of my life force every day.
I felt trapped by my job – after all, I was objectively successful, relatively well paid and had the “security” of working for a big global company. What right did I have to ask for more?
It was only when I talked to a good friend about her career that I started to think differently. She had a clear vision for her work – to improve society using smart, analytical business ideas. She was completely passionate about her career, dripping with enthusiasm.
My friend did work that she believed made a difference in the world around her – it impacted the lives of others, and the community she lived in. Whilst I could hardly get out of bed every day, she couldn’t wait to get to work.
I realised that it was possible to enjoy making a living. To find work that felt meaningful. To make a difference in the world.
This spark inspired me to start my own journey to doing work that matters. It has been a long road and not always smooth sailing.
Now I help others who wish to find work that matters and I love my work every day.
In talking with hundreds of people who have felt stuck in a career rut and made radical changes in their work lives, I’ve found some five striking reasons to find work that matters:
1 Identity “You are what you do.”
Work is a key component of our identity. Our work helps to define our place in the world.
When you meet someone new, one of the first questions you’ll inevitably be asked is “what do you do for a living?”
Answering that question helps to tell your personal story, the way that others perceive you.
Work helps you to express your individuality and express yourself.
If you love your work, it aligns with your values and who you are a person.
2. Quality of Life. “Work takes up 40% or (much) more of your life”
Given this, work has a huge impact on your happiness and quality of life.
Work can be hugely energizing and bring us a great deal of challenge and joy. It can also suck the life force from us and leave us devoid of the energy to do more than lift the remote control.
Finding work that works for you can change your whole life.
3. Personal Development. “Work pushes you to grow”
The work we do is one of the main ways that we interact with the world around us.
You can take on new challenges, learn new ideas or skills and develop your ability to interact with others.
You can work with different people who can teach, inspire and challenge you to be the best you can.
The right work stretches you, dares you to be better.
Work allows us you to develop as a person and find out more about the world that we live in.
4. Purpose. “What were you put on earth to do?”
The work that we do can help us to answer some of those bigger questions in life.
I often hear someone saying that they want to “do something meaningful”, “something that makes a difference to people” or “makes a difference in the world”.
When we find work that we love, it is sometimes called finding our vocation, or “doing what we were put on earth for”.
Finding work we love helps us to make sense of our existence and find meaning in life.
5. Making a Living. “If you have to work, why not do something that matters?”
Like it or not, most of us need to work to make a living.
We need to make money in order to create the life we’d like to live. Receiving financial reward for what we do enables this to happen.
As we need to work, why not try to do something that we enjoy and that motivates us?
I’ve met too many people who put life on hold for that well paying job they hate, yet the idea of sticking that out for another 20 years is killing them.
These powerful reasons tell me that doing work that matters is vital to living life to the full. I’ve learned my lesson here, now its..
Over to you
Please share your thoughts on work:
- Why do you go to work?
- How important is to do work that matters for you?
- How have you found work that you enjoy?
- What is stopping you from finding work that you love?
Answers on a postcard – or better still, leave a comment.
If you’d like to explore finding work that matters, take a look at my career coaching services. If you’d like to find out more drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can find a time to chat.