Finding purpose at work: part one
I used to worry that my job wasn’t meaningful. I’m not a doctor making life or death decisions. I’m not a politician deciding the fate of a nation. And I’m not a scientist discovering new life. But I’ve realised that it is possible to find meaning in your job from other places – you just need to know where to look.
I needed to realise what a good day at work meant to me. Maybe you’re driven by mentoring others to success, by giving an ‘expert’ opinion, or by closing that deal. But for me, it’s knowing I’ve done the best I could for my client.
I want to have valuable conversations that leave everyone in the room knowing that was time well spent. I want to deliver a debrief that not only answers the objectives but fits into an action plan to drive real change. It doesn’t even need to be acknowledged by the client (although that helps) – it’s more the inner knowledge that I put my best into something.
Look around you
The people you’re with every day can inspire you to greater things, adding another incentive to set the alarm clock. By learning from my peers, I keep pushing the boundaries of what my ‘best effort’ can achieve. I’m a month into my new role at Incite and I’ve already learnt so much from the smart, creative people around me. They challenge my thinking while somehow making the complex thoroughly understandable. I’m further encouraged to up my game as no one wants to be the weak link in the team.
Look to the future
The projects I work on are part of a brand’s decision to make a change or introduce an initiative that is going to improve the lives of consumers. Maybe it will nudge a patient into a healthier decision. Maybe it will make the benefits of different credit cards easier to understand. Or maybe it will mean service is delivered with a genuine smile. But somewhere down the line something I have worked on means a significant number of lives will ultimately feel a benefit.
Seeing the wider application not only gives my job purpose, it restores my faith that big businesses aren’t always after the ‘little guy’. Maybe some of these changes will even benefit me.
Finding these channels of purpose has helped me recognise the value of what I do, in turn renewing my commitment at work.
I wanted to also share the other side of it – the ‘non-work’ side if you like, in part two.