Karen Darrin

Do you dread going into the office Monday morning? Maybe a new boss has entered the equation, creating a rift between how you once felt and how you now feel. Perhaps your company has recently been acquired, changing the culture. Maybe you simply have outgrown your role and are bored.

I have found that whether we enjoy our work (or not) often boils down to how our job fits with our values and purpose. Where we work, the role we hold, our broader sense of living our values and purpose — all are subject to change through the years. Thus if we want to stay in the “sweet spot” among these three, we must be aware of what we value and not fear career transitions or even change itself; rather, we must seek them out.

Try this exercise. At the end of the workday, jot down approximately how much time you spent in each of the three following mindsets:

  • Job mindset. When someone has a job mindset, they resort to a “paycheck mentality,” performing their duties in return for compensation and not much else.
  • Career mindset. This mindset occurs when an individual is focused on increasing or advancing their salary, title, power, team size, or sphere of control.
  • Purpose mindset. Feeling passionate, innovative, and committed are hallmarks of this mindset, as is having an outward-looking focus on serving the broader organization or key stakeholders. Your professional purpose feels aligned with your personal values.

Keep a log for a few weeks and see whether you fall into one of these mindsets more than the others. If the job and career mindsets total more than 50% of your time, that may be a warning sign that you should restate or redefine your personal purpose or your job.

No one lives in the purpose mindset all the time, but spending too much time in the career or job mindsets is destructive: You are certain to be dissatisfied with your job and the mindsets can end up harming your reputation, chances of promotion, and long-term prospects. Focusing too much on your career or your paycheck can lead to unhappiness and frustration. Before that happens, seek a new role, or perhaps a new organization, that rebalances your equation.

Life is short. You deserve to work in a role where your personal purpose shines. But you cannot leave it up to the organization, your boss, or your team. It really does come down to you defining and enacting your purpose. Identify your greatest strengths, talents and gifts, and determine the best way you can offer them to the world. That is where you will find your purpose.

CALL TO ACTION:  Need help finding your purpose or your next career move?  Schedule a complimentary 30-min consult or email me at karen@karendarrin.com.