Feeling Stuck? It’s Time to Find Purpose in Your Career

When you wake up on Monday morning, what’s your first thought? Do you feel a pit in your stomach and fumble around for an excuse to call in sick? Or do you jump out of bed excited about the opportunity to go to work? The sad truth is that the majority of the population resonates with the former example, while very few know what it’s like to experience the latter. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

3 Tips to Help You Find Purpose

Let’s predict that you’ll spend 40 years working various jobs over the course of your life. During that time, you’ll average 40 hours per week. If you work 50 out of 52 weeks per year – leaving a few days for vacations and holidays – this means you’ll spend 80,000 hours of your life on the job. That comes out to 3,333 days, or more than 9 full years.

It’s easy to say that work isn’t everything and you can just grit your teeth and live for the weekends. It’s much harder to actually do. Your career has a significant influence over who you are and who you’ll become. If it doesn’t give you purpose, you’re missing out on a large percent of what life has to offer you.

The good news is that you can find purpose. It’ll probably require a pivot or change, but it’s within your grasp. Here are some practical steps you can take to find a job that brings you fulfillment:

1. Consider What You Love

What gets you excited? What’s the one thing you can’t wait to do when the weekend begins? Is there something that you do that gets you so entranced that you forget about everything else happening around you?

For entrepreneur Mark Manson, it used to be video games. As unhealthy as it may have been, he would spend hours playing video games and forget to do anything else – even eat.

“It wasn’t until I gave up the games that I realized my passion wasn’t for the games themselves (although I do love them). My passion is for improvement, being good at something and then trying to get better,” Manson explains. “The games themselves — the graphics, the stories — they were cool, but I can easily live without them. It’s the competition with others and with myself that I thrive on.”

Manson has since found that running an online business gives him that same feeling of purpose. For you, it’s different. What gives you that same sense of meaning?

For example, let’s say you love pets. You spend all of your time away from work loving on your pets, volunteering at the local shelter, watching cat videos on YouTube, taking your kids to the zoo, etc. Well, why can’t you pursue a career in the field? You don’t have to spend years studying to become a veterinarian. Instead, you can become a veterinary technician in less than two years (going to school part-time). Sometimes these changes are easier than we think.

2. Look Beyond Salary and Benefits

You have to get past the notion that the only way to choose a job is by looking at the salary and benefits and taking the financial package that earns you the most money. It’s better to make a moderate salary and love what you do than to make a ton of money and dread going to work. Just ask someone who’s been in both situations.

Beyond salary, look at the work you’ll be doing. Does it make a difference in the world? Will you enjoy the people you’ll work with? These are important elements to consider.

3. Take Baby Steps

You don’t have to quit your job today and find a new job tomorrow. It’s okay to take things slowly. Just make sure you’re moving in the right direction. Baby steps are better than no steps. Each day, make sure you’re accomplishing something – taking a class, reading a book, having lunch with a connection. Eventually you’ll look up and you’ll be in a totally better place.

It’s Never Too Late to Make a Change

Perspective is a funny thing. While we may believe our perception to be equivalent to truth, it often stands in stark contrast to reality. The issue of switching career paths is a perfect example of this.

Just because you’re 35 and have been in one career for 10 years, doesn’t mean you can’t suddenly switch to something totally different. You still have 20 or 30 years left in your career – there’s ample time to try something else. The same goes for people who are 45, 55, or even 65 years old. It’s never too late to make a change. While it can seem scary, the reality is that you are better equipped for change than you realize.

Your life is too short and meaningful not to seek out your purpose. Work isn’t everything, but it’s certainly a major part of what we do in our time on this earth. If you aren’t finding fulfillment in your job, perhaps now is the time to make a change!