Lost Passion for Your Job? How to Build a More Meaningful Career
While income from your job is a means through which you can pay your bills and sustain yourself, it can also be a source of great fulfillment. If you’re finding it tougher each day to see meaning in what you do for a living, there are simple steps you can take to turn the situation around. Here are five ways to build a more meaningful career.
1. Focus on the parts of your job you enjoy
Very few people like every aspect of their job, so don’t get too caught up with focusing on what you don’t like. No one loves everything about their occupation all of the time. Make an effort to zero-in on the parts of your job that are enjoyable.
2. Become a mentor
Have you noticed a junior colleague or new professional in your industry who needs some guidance and coaching? Offer to be his or her mentor. Most successful people got where they are through the support and care of others. Take time to contribute to someone else’s success.
“The best mentoring relationships are those where both parties are getting something out of it. The mentor may receive personal satisfaction knowing he or she is helping someone who is looking to propel his or her career forward, while the mentee feels fortunate to have access to someone who knows the playing field fairly well,” blogged Roberta Matuson, author of Suddenly in Charge.
3. Look for things to be thankful for
Make an effort to find small things about your job that you are thankful for. You may find that you are more satisfied that you thought you were.
“The trick is to have a ‘means to an end.’ That requires you to create something outside of work that leads to a happy ending…For example, if your family makes you happy then view your job as the entity that gives you the resources to enjoy your family. Those resources could be the money you make at the job, the travel you and your family get to do because of your job, [or] the contacts and friends you and your family make because of your job,” said author Kenny Felderstein in Happiness: The Forgotten Ingredient.
Don’t keep all of your time and talents to yourself. Find individuals or organizations who can benefit from what you have to offer. Knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of others will help you see the bigger picture and give you the energy and motivation you need to keep moving forward. You can find volunteer opportunities by starting with an online search. One good place to start is Volunteers of America, which offers volunteer opportunities in 46 states and the District of Columbia as well as Puerto Rico. Some of the professional services where volunteers can contribute are in the areas of public relations, motivational speaking, and law.
Giving back may also have health benefits. A report by the Corporation for National Community Service titled The Health Benefits of Volunteering, found that those who volunteer have lower rates of mortality, higher functionality, and lower depression rates than those who choose not to volunteer.
5. Take a break
Sometimes you need to take a step back to analyze whether you are really in the right career. It’s easy to continue to go through the motions, working in a job or career that is a poor fit and has been for many months or even years. It may take a while for it to happen, but this decision could eventually have a negative impact on your health. Schedule some time off so that you can clear your head and take stock of what you really want and need. Remember that it’s your life, and there’s no point in sticking with a career that is making you miserable.
“Meaningful work is fundamentally about making free and informed choices, while recognizing that nothing about how we see and experience work is set in stone or irrevocable. This dynamic reminds us that we are the authors of our future and that we have a great deal of power in deciding what we want that future to look like. As we develop the ability to choose, our experience of clarity grows proportionally,” said MeaninfulCareers.com co-founder Mark Guterman.