Most people, if not all, yearn to have meaning or purpose in their career. As the world keeps evolving, people are not looking to just have a job, but to create a meaningful career. The idea of a fulfilling career not only reflects your talents and passions, but also on your personal values. There are a number of people who are stuck in unhappy jobs. Therefore, job satisfaction has gradually declined over the years. Do you occasionally have a feeling that you and your work are not aligned? How can you go about building a meaningful career? Transitioning from your regular job to a meaningful one will not be a walk in the park. There are days you will doubt your decision, or want to quit. However, building a meaningful career is the most fulfilling feeling in the world - and here are some tips on how to go about it.
Be humble and have patience
To build a meaningful career, both patience and humility must come into play. A large number of professionals who are switching, or have already switched, from a regular job to a meaningful job expect to instantly make top-level executive. Becoming a top-level official at your new organization is not impossible - but in the first instance,you need to be willing to start at a much lower level. This will give you time to learn innovative ways in a new field. Through patience and humility, you will rapidly rise through the organization's ranks. Most people will spend 45 years plus working on their careers. Therefore, taking the long view makes sense.
Find the interconnection between your values and talent
The best way to build a meaningful career is finding where the world and your talents cross. Finding an ethical career that is focused on issues and values close to your heart is the best alternative. Such a career will allow you to do what you are good at. However, this might sound like a luxury option considering the long lines of unemployment. The good news is, in OECD countries, the social enterprise sector is growing 250% faster than the rest of the economy.
Find an environment that is committed to building careers
Another key element of building a meaningful career is finding an environment that is committed to building careers. All companies are not the same. While there are organizations that might help you grow, not all believe in career growth. Finding an organization that will build you up goes way beyond undergoing formal career review processes. These are just a minimum requirement. Good managers providing feedback on your work ought to routinely give constructive criticism. They should also give specific and actionable ideas that will help you improve your output, instead of simply telling you to do a job better.
Don't expect to get into the right career with a snap of your fingers. Making the right career choice can be confusing. But here is a consoling thought: confusion in terms of finding the right career is perfectly understandable and normal. During ancient times, this was not such a big problem because there were about 30 standard trades. At present, there are more than 12,000 different jobs listed on career websites. This plethora of choice can get you so anxious about making the wrong decision that you end up making no decision at all. It will also prompt you to stay in a job that you have already grown out of, resulting in more frustration. You need to realize confusion is natural, and ready yourself to go beyond it.
The proof is in the pudding
A good organization should offer you plenty of opportunities for new challenges. Such an organization should also comprise numerous people whose job responsibilities dramatically change as they grow into new roles within a year or two. You can easily identify such an organization during your interview process. You can ask your interviewers what various positions they have held since they started working there. This will help you choose the right kind of company to work for in the long term.
The growth of an organization coincides with your career growth
When an organization is rapidly growing, they generally have to employ more people. Moreover, they will need more employees to rise into management positions quickly. An organization that is growing rapidly will thrive when employees quickly grow into leaders and managers. For you to build a meaningful career, you should work at a place that is growing fast. The upside is that your career will most likely grow fast as well.
Think of a married couple who have stayed together for more than 50 years. When asked what their secret is, most will probably answer that commitment is what makes their marriage successful. When it comes to building a meaningful career, committing to an organization in this way might be a bit too much. Instead of plotting your career in two-year stints, why don't you try blocks of five years or more? Most people with successful and meaningful careers will tell you that it takes a couple of years to get on a firm footing at your new organization. It takes a couple more to master your role, and to start building towards higher leadership or managerial goals. It is liberating to envision what you could accomplish in a specific role at your organization in five years’ time.
Resilience is very important, especially if you are transitioning from a normal job to a meaningful one. If you are resilient you will be able to anticipate the risks involved in changing careers, and feel comfortable about the change. You don't have to be born with a unique ability to forge ahead or bounce back to be resilient. However, you need to learn to cultivate work patterns, attitudes and behaviors that will allow you to keep growing your career. Even when times get tough, you can bring a new energy, power and direction to your career. By gaining resilience you stand a chance at creating a more successful and meaningful career.
Don't overthink, just do it
You have already found your purpose in life, and you have started building your meaningful career. However, a change of career has its share of ups and down, and can be a frightening prospect. Ultimately, there is no way in the world you can achieve your goals and avoid taking a risk. Any successful person who changed careers at some point will admit to being scared in one way or another. When you ask any of them how they overcame those fears, the answer is always the same: you need to stop overthinking, and just do it. In life, everyone has two natures. One nature wants to pull you back, while the other wants you to advance. If you do not take the bull by the horns in terms of building a meaningful career, you might end up looking back at your life with regret. If you are struggling with procrastination, keep asking yourself this question: if not now, when?
The process of building a meaningful career can be a challenge. It is not just the part where you need to find an appropriate job opportunity that is hard. Fitting into the right career choice and maintaining consistent growth is also difficult. Before you delve into career building, it is important you understand what 'meaningful' means to you. If you already know the answer, then you are ready to take the necessary steps that will help you build a meaningful career. You don't have to wait until you are ready to make a change. What if you’re never ready? Take charge of your life and use the tips above to help you build a meaningful career.
Would you like to give any other tips out of your experience? The comments section is waiting just for you.