Finding Purpose in Your Work

By Douglas Weinstein
Published on: September 22, 2017

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New boss got you singin’ the blues? Hate Sunday evenings because it reminds you you’ve got to go to work Monday morning? Thinking that you’ve outgrown your job responsibilities and are bored beyond tears? Whatever the case, it’s critical to find a sense of purpose in your work.

Where you work, your responsibilities and role in the company, and how you measure success are all subject to change, but firing on all cylinders on the basics (your inherent value as it pertains to your job) is the basis of finding purpose and meaning in your career. And just as important, you must continually re-define and re-evaluate your sense of purpose so you don’t fall back into the ‘Monday morning blues’ rut.

If you find yourself questioning your sense of purpose as it relates to your career, consider the following concepts and have a good sit-down with yourself (honesty, as always, is the best policy!):

  • Are you just treading water and performing your job duties for the paycheck?
  • Are you passionate about your work?
  • Do you feel like you’re a part of a team?
  • Can you see advancement opportunities?

If you’re embarrassed or even more depressed answering those questions, then it’s time for change. Because, let’s face it, no one likes a dead-end, thankless, monotonous job. No one. But in saying that, don’t jump to the conclusion that you have to quit and find another gig. No, I think there are several other options you need to act upon before it’s time to say ‘adios, amigoes’:

  • Schedule a meeting with your boss. Make notes, figure out what you want to do within the organization and build your case. Only if your manager refuses to take you seriously or won’t even make an effort to find a better fit for you within the organization would you then consider more drastic measures.
  • Similarly, are there more responsibilities you can handle that could be a launching pad for migrating to another team or division? Take a look at your Unique Abilities and make a case study on where you could fit within the company to maximize your skill sets. Again, run this up the flagpole in a professional, organized, serious manner – no whining or pipe dreams. If you’re professional in your approach to management, they’ll be professional in their deliberations and response.
  • Do you need to go back to school? Are there education assets you can deploy? As markets change, companies change – and so do positions within the company. Are you keeping up with the changes yourself?

If there isn’t a role within your company that gives you purpose, then you might have to seek a new role within a new organization. Life is short. You must realize that inherently, you deserve to work in a role that brings more than just a paycheck and occasional joy. But you can’t leave it up to your boss or the company to define what gives you true purpose – you need to do your homework, be honest with yourself, and present your case soberly and professionally. Because at the end of the day, only you can define the meaning of your career’s purpose.

Douglas Weinstein

Douglas Weinstein

Doug is the Managing Editor and co-founder of TIG. As the manager of the website, he can wax prophetic about his career, if that was in his mind to do so. Here's his top achievement - he co-founded the non-profit Elf Foundation, a charitable org that created Room of Magic entertainment theaters in children's hospitals across America.

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