So you’ve graduated university and started a seemingly exciting role at a company—the prospects are good; you have benefits, nice colleagues and can finally afford to go for a nice dinner. You should be happy, right?
Then, one morning, you wake up for another day at the office; and an overwhelming feeling of dread creeps up on you. Uh oh. You’re sitting at your desk, and that’s when the big question hits—“what’s my purpose?”
Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone— studies show that only 29% of millennials are actually engaged at work! If you’re looking for a way out of your current situation and want to find fulfilling work that feeds your soul, here’s what you can do today to start making the change…
Start with what makes you unhappy
Finding fulfilling work means determining what makes you unhappy just as much as what makes you happy.
While you sift through the endless possibilities of what your future might look like, it can be daunting to narrow down the details— but what makes you unhappy often doesn’t change. Make a list of the qualities of a job that you absolutely don’t want, so as you start planning you can look for the no-go qualities and cross those off your list. Take some time to actually think about this; getting it right will ensure you don’t head down a path that ends with disappointment.
Charity? Full-time job? Side hustle?
This is arguably the important point—what kind of fulfillment are you looking for? Everyone gauges purpose and fulfillment differently—while many can feel a lifelong sense of purpose by volunteering or becoming a trustee for a charity they’re passionate about alongside their 9-5, others need their daily money-earning job to meet the criteria.
- Charity: If you think playing a crucial role in a charity can bring you fulfillment, this is the easiest to acquire. After you’ve found the charity of your choice, you may want to look into doing a step above volunteering: becoming a charity trustee. While the governing rules differ per country, trustees are usually required to be at least the age of 18 and in good standing with the law (no criminal convictions, etc.). You can contact the charity directly to see if they are accepting trustees or board members.
- Side hustle: Many people run their own micro-business or start movements on the side. This will require a lot of work initially—you’ll need to dedicate after-work hours and weekends to making this happen, which can be challenging when all you want to do is curl up in bed with Netflix! The best way to start tackling this is to create bite-size, attainable goals that you can work towards each day and each week.
- Full-time job: Making money from your passion is possible. Similarly to starting a side-hustle, creating a full-time job out of your passion requires plenty of up-front work that consumes any spare time you have. The most critical part about making this really happen is staying motivated. Remember that the first few months will be the hardest, but the most crucial, as you set the tone for this path so give yourself frequent reminders as to why you’re doing it.
Find role-models you resonate with
Look for 2-3 inspiring people currently working in an area you want to be in or who have gone down the path you wish to follow— ideally at least one of them will be local to you. Reach out via email and ask to go for a coffee or if they live farther away, if you could jump on a call for 15 minutes to ask them questions. Don’t be shy—most people will be more than happy to help! If you can’t catch them by email don’t be discouraged, try finding a phone number and giving them a call. This will help you build a rapport with the right people, seek advice and learn from their mistakes— and who knows—sometimes even a phone conversation can lead to unexpected opportunities. Finding fulfilling work (and securing it) is as much about networking as it is about your abilities.
Invest in yourself
Find at least one resource that you believe you’ll benefit from—whether that be an online course from an influential blog or career coach, or even making a playlist of motivational podcasts or Youtube videos and buying an informative book that you spend time reading, the best thing you can do is invest time and money into yourself to learn. Remember that at the end of the day it’s not about splurging on expensive courses to be successful, but rather, learning so you can score fulfilling work. You can’t solve problems if you aren’t growing and learning, so spending time training your mind will expedite the process to attaining your goals.
Make use of social media
I don’t think I need to explain how useful social media can be for creating opportunities. Utilize it to your benefit: join communities of people on the same journey as you, network with successful people you admire, stay up-to-date with industry leaders and their whereabouts (maybe they’ll be attending a conference accessible to you or visiting your city)— use it to make your interest known to the big players. I became involved with the charity CANZUK international by accident, after finding their petition for commonwealth free movement online and helping support the cause solely because I believed in their mission— I ended up reaching out to the CEO and now work with him to drive government change. You can do all of this from the comfort of your bed, which is a bonus too!
While there is no bulletproof way finding fulfilling work or even starting your journey, but having a few clear and simple steps to follow can help set you off in the right direction.
Do you have a tip for finding fulfilling work? Tell me below!