Finding purpose in your job, or choosing a job that gives you a purpose, can make life more rewarding and reduce stress and anxiety, too. But how can you do that, and what’s the best way to get started? It sounds easy to just “do what makes you happy,” but how do you actually figure out what that is and how to do it? It’s not always easy to find a job that feels rewarding, or discover a way to make a current job feel that way, either. But there are ways to look at your career — or even a part-time job — differently so you can feel more rewarded by it. Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking for purpose in your working life.
Purpose Doesn’t Have to be Huge
You don’t have to change the world to do something purposeful. It’s entirely possible to choose a job with purpose or create more purpose in your current job on a smaller scale that’s still very meaningful. You can pick a person to mentor, or a community cause to get involved with. Make sure you’re also taking care of yourself and your needs before you start looking out for others. There are plenty of small victories to look for, and people to “take under your wing” so they can succeed at their work more fully. Look for ways to help that feel fulfilling to you, and don’t be afraid to start small.
Know What Really Matters to You
The kinds of things that give you purpose may not be the same as the types of things other people would find valuable. There’s nothing wrong with that, since everyone is different and has unique things to offer. Instead of trying to keep up with others or choose a path that you think people want you to focus on, take the time to think about the things that speak to your heart. How can you incorporate them into your current job, or what kind of job can you look for that would allow you to use the gifts and talents you’re passionate about?
Adjust Your Perception of Value
What’s purposeful or valuable is going to be different for everyone. There will be many commonly shared visions and causes, but even the way different people look at those things won’t be identical. If you can’t change jobs and don’t see a lot of purpose in the job you currently have, look more carefully at the things being valued by you and others around you. Are you possibly overlooking something that could help you feel purposeful or bring you or someone else a lot of joy and fulfillment? There may be more than the obvious to consider.
Reach Out to Others With Help
Helping other people can be one of the best ways to find purpose in your work. From your boss’ overwhelmed assistant to the new guy who’s trying to find his way in the organization, there are people who may be struggling. You don’t need to become their best friend or take over their workload, but consider encouraging them and proving them with insight, information, or resources that could make things easier. Even small gestures that help other people may be highly rewarding.
What Makes You Happy Might Be Different from What Makes Others Happy
You don’t have to change the world to have purpose in your work. Look for the ways you can help people and how you can get value and satisfaction from what you do. If you can’t find a purpose in the job you have, some soul-searching may lead you to choose another job that provides more of what you really need for a fulfilling work environment and a happier life.
About the Author: Michelle Dakota Beck has worked as a professional freelance writer since the 1990s. During that time she has written everything from product descriptions to full-length books. Her areas of specialization include real estate, home services, legal topics, relationships, family life, and mental health issues. You can find her on WriterAccess.