Most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work. It’s no wonder, then, that finding meaning and purpose in our careers is so important. We want to feel like we’re making a difference in the world, using our unique talents and passions to contribute in some way. When we’re excited about what we’re doing, we lead happier and more productive lives in and outside of work.
A candidate-driven market
In the wake of the Great Resignation and the COVID-19 pandemic, employees’ expectations for their workplace have dramatically shifted. In 2021, more than 47 million Americans quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which charted an all-time high across recorded history. Thus far in 2022, resignation rates have continued to smash records with more than 4.5 million Americans quitting in the month of March alone.
The pandemic — and the existential questions it created — have led to a marked change in perspective as more people reevaluate how they spend their day-to-day lives. Consequently, employees of all industries have begun seeking work that’s driven by a sense of purpose — and workplaces that reflect their values and their passions. Work doesn’t have to be just your day job; it can unlock meaningful experiences by providing personal value and a greater sense of purpose.
How to find meaning and purpose in your career
There are a few things you can do to find meaning and purpose in your career:
1. Define what’s important to you.
What are your values and priorities? What kind of work would make you feel fulfilled? For example: Is it important for you to coach a team or to be an individual contributor? Do you feel more valued in a client-facing role or as an independent worker? Do you like working in the office every day, or are you most productive with a hybrid work structure? Does the culture support you working from home when you have a sick child or temporary healthcare issues? These are all questions to ask yourself when considering which job will best suit your happiness.
2. Seek career options that align with your values.
With a current boom in the job market, there are many opportunities that allow you to make a difference in the world through your individual skills and passions. A 2021 report by Blue Beyond Consulting claimed that more than 52% of the knowledge workers they sampled would leave their job if company values didn’t align with their own. Other studies also show a greater potential for burnout when doing work that’s personally unfulfilling or that conflicts with your morals.
3. Find a mentor or role model.
Someone who has found meaning and purpose in their work can be a great source of inspiration and guidance. By providing hands-on training and guidance, a mentor can motivate you to find a greater sense of purpose in your work by creating incentives and tangible goals for success. Regular meetings with a mentor serve as a reminder that your organization is invested in your personal and professional development.
Curious about the difference between a champion and a mentor? Read more about what AdamsGabbert CEO Denise Kruse has to say on the subject.
The benefits of having a meaningful career
Often, people choose careers based on what will make them the most money — whether it’s to make ends meet or to save for their and their family’s futures. While financial well-being should be a priority, it’s also important to find a fulfilling career that you’re passionate about. Changing jobs for money without taking other important factors into consideration can quickly lead to disillusionment. Plus, when you’re passionate about your career, it shows in your work; you’re more likely to put your heart and soul into something that you love instead of just going through the motions.
A meaningful career can be more than beneficial. You’re more likely to be motivated, stay on your career path and create connections along the way. Those relationships can fuel you to continue to do your best work.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a meaningful career can improve your overall mental health. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Mental Health found that employees who reported a sense of meaning in their work were less likely to experience depression and had an easier time managing stress and anxiety associated with their jobs.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs
Unlock your next meaningful experience
There are two main reasons that meaning and purpose are so key for your career. First, you’ll be more productive. That reason behind what you do will help create better results and help sustain that drive to achieve. The second reason? Creating change. You have the power to be a difference in this world through your work. You’re armed with unique talent and passions that will make a positive impact.
Look for openings that align with your values. It’s also helpful to find a role model or mentor to help guide you. The path to your meaningful experience may not be a straight one. The most important thing is that you’re doing something that matters to you. If you’re not, don’t be afraid to change.
Get involved in your community.
There are many ways to get involved in your community and make a difference, regardless of your career. Volunteering or donating time or money to a good cause can help you feel more connected to something larger than yourself. This also gives you an opportunities to experience leading a team through volunteerism. Every leader has to start somewhere. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.
At AdamsGabbert (AG), our purpose-driven team is dedicated to giving back to the community through a number of organizations and volunteer opportunities. We know that creating a healthy work-life balance for employees enables them to more freely give their time and energy in their personal lives and communities.
Ready for a career that aligns with your purpose? At AdamsGabbert, we’re committed to unlocking meaningful experiences by finding out what really matters to our clients and candidates for every job we recruit for. To learn more about why an “AG fit” is better, give us a shout.
Experts in IT, business process automation, staffing and recruiting, and more, AdamsGabbert (AG) is an employment and technology services firm bringing our partners the best talent, opportunities and strategic solutions to meet their business needs. By placing meaning at the center of our business, we create defining moments every chance we get and strive to become our clients’ and candidates’ first call. Founded in 1999, we are proud to be a certified Woman-Owned Business (WBE) and to support our Kansas City community. Unlock meaningful experiences with us today.