I’ve been lucky to work in a number of jobs that have been focused on changing the world for the better but I haven’t loved every minute of every job that kept me away from my children during the day (or night, or even weekends for that matter). And, perhaps, this isn’t the most socially acceptable thing for a working mother to say, since many of the women I encounter in the workplace feel pressure to ensure that if they are away from their children they need to love their job in a way that acquiesces their choice to pursue a career while simultaneously being a mother.
If you’re currently in a position where the larger purpose isn’t one that you feel connected to, you should consider exploring other career options that can get you to a place where you can fulfill greater purpose. Meaning and purpose are important, and those that are able to find it in their jobs are more likely to stay with the same employer, are more productive, and are more engaged. However, even if only temporarily, many of us will find ourselves in roles where the day to day demands, requirements, pressures, and sacrifices make us feel like we’re not in the right place. Those days are the days that we need to consider and remember the other purpose of our jobs. This purpose is the purpose that we identify for ourselves, and it’s the purpose that I rely on the most on a daily basis so that I can deliver my larger purpose of changing the world.
What could that self-identified purpose be? The American Psychological Association did a study with more than 11,000 employees across different industries and the main indicator of a job with meaning was that it had positive impact on others. So while your day-to-day job may not directly meet this direction everyday if the lens through which you view it is the actual impact of the job from a professional perspective, it could meet this direction if it you view your job from the lens of what it’s providing you and your family. It could be anything that keeps you motivated to keep going through your day or to give your best in your job, especially when the going gets tough and all you can think about is how soon you can run back home.
Here’s the list I go through for inspiration on my particularly grueling days.
- Show my children that it’s possible to chase more than one dream.
- Give my significant other a sense of relief and security for whatever difficult decisions they need to make at work (or in life) today.
- Develop my business skill set so that I’m ready for my next career opportunity.
- Keep my family financially secure and allows them to pursue their dreams.
- Hug my child every morning or evening without worrying about how I will support them.
Create a list for yourself and review it when you’re having a particularly hard day. While we all aspire for everyday at work to be deep reaching and inspirational, that isn’t always going to be the case. Finding a way to bring daily purpose into your work life will make reaching that larger multi-year purpose so much more possible.