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BSc PhD ECPC
Articles -- Career
I see career, not as something you do just to earn a living, but as a fundamental expression of who you are at the deepest level.
For me, career should allow me to make full use of my talents and strengths. It should serve a group that I care about or a mission that I feel passionate about. It should be something that I would do even if I didn’t need to earn money.
To me, career and life purpose are synonymous. In times when my career did not feel like my life purpose, I was actively engaged in searching for a career that would bring a sense of meaning and purpose to my life.
The process of getting your career aligned with your life purpose is really quite simple although the path may be long… In every moment, pay attention and notice opportunities to do what you enjoy. I’ve seen people invent entirely new careers simply by doing just that. Imagine someone who loves shopping and makes a career of taking elderly ladies out to shopping malls; or someone who makes jewelry out of pieces of broken bottles that were salvaged from the sea (called ‘sea glass’).
Not all ideal careers are unusual. I remember when I asked a friend of mine what he’d really like to do, he said “I’d like to be a hot-dog man, selling hot dogs from those little stands on the street.” This amazed me, because he was an Information Technology Project Manager. But he really just wanted to do something simple and chat to people. Unfortunately he wasn’t ready to give up the high-paying job, but he was able to appreciate the social side of his job. For him, life purpose meant communicating with others on a meaningful personal level, and he was able to achieve that in his current career.
You can learn a lot about your life purpose by asking yourself, “What did I enjoy most about the past day or the past week? What activity can I lose myself in? When were the happiest times of my life?” and “What was the underlying theme of these times or activities?”
When you dig for the answer, you will start to discover the essence of who you are and what brings meaning and joy to your life. Then you can start to get creative about how to bring more of that into your personal life and your work life. For some, it will be possible to incorporate this into their current career; for others it may inspire a change of career.
As you start to incorporate changes in your life, remain aware of how it feels. It’s like the children’s game where they tell a searcher if they’re getting hotter or colder (closer or farther away) from the searched-for object. The question to ask yourself is, “Does this feel better or worse?” Always follow the path that feels right for you - the path that is attuned with who you are.
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