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© 2020 by Careergowhere. 

Finding purpose in your career

January 15, 2020

Speak to several working professionals and you may likely end up hearing remuneration is important but purpose in work is internally fulfilling.


It’s like the head delivers a message but the heart focuses on another.


A recent 1,000 plus millennial polled, 42% said of jobs they sought that “the job must be meaningful to me." It was followed by “good salary prospects” in distance second as the choice of 17%.  “Work-life” balance comes in third place as the choice of 12%.


Interestingly, older working professionals may dismiss talk of purpose and passion at work as idealistic musings of millennial who will fast outgrow such notions once they are settled with family and mortgage.


There can also be another group who is literally ghosting by daily but perks up on payday!


Whatever the situation, at some point, any professional in a regular functional role will have these fleeting thoughts.  


How will they search something that make them feel a sense of purpose during their career journey?




So, what exactly is “purpose” in career?


To answer this, one needs to examine the drivers that influence decisions. And this starts in the beginning. It takes effort to discover what one really cares about.   Sometimes, this can originate from your beliefs, experiences with your family members to hobbies.


Test yourself


A quick exercise is to list down as many hobbies as you can within three minutes.  Then, circle the top 3 that you feel most passionate.  


For example, you have indicated eating, travel and music. Ask yourself if all three has a meaning.  Is there a pattern in between?


For instance, you feel music incites emotions. You will like to make unhappy people into happy people through music.  Then, you ask “why do you like to do this?” You may say "oh...because I am an optimistic guy."


Then, ask “why are you always optimistic?” and you say "that's who I am".... and you ask again "what type of travel make me optimistic in life?....and you say "nature..the mountains, rivers...."


Soon, you may reach a point where it’s just describing who you are. Psychologists label this as “core values”. In this illustration, you can be someone who treasure freedom, one who believes in free-spirited work." 


Find possible jobs that align with the core values. does help you identify some of the core values using the popular Knowdell Valye Card Sorts. In fact, you get a whole, new realm of discovery!


Since you read this far, I am going to give you a bonus.  


Send me an email with the code "10%discovery" and you'll enjoy one-time 10% off the 1-1 course which can be found here


List down your thoughts


A common way to do this is through "Maslow Hierarchy of Needs" but we’ll just do a simple list and expand from there.


Examples of “purpose” that working professionals have written down: 

  1. Personal growth and development

  2. Earn more to buy more assets to retire comfortably in future

  3. Grooming a person’s potential

  4. Rehabilitation work

  5. Help the disadvantaged

  6. Conserve nature

  7. Protect the environment

  8. Save the animals

  9. Recycle and reduce carbon emission

  10. Leave a work legacy


Let’s say you are an Accountant.  The inner purpose can be to uphold financial governance that you truly believe in. Integrity is the core value. Thus, an Auditor sounds appealing. Checking the books instills a sense of corporate justice.  


If you are a Salesperson for new sales, you may be driven (not money only) but the sense of satisfaction in winning something that no one has ever imagined.   Diving deeper uncovers that one relishes challenges, so anything on working in a greenfield project is fulfilling.   


Choose the most important purpose that you hold dear to yourself.  It doesn’t have to be iron clad but a good starting point to self-discover later on.


If you remain unsure about your purpose (in career), my suggestion is for you to find a qualified Career Coach.  Here are some tips to screen the right professional. 


Insert the core values in your current job


Once you identify your core values, put them into good use.  Say, if you are an Admin Manager but organizing events for the seniors are something that creates value (i.e. empathy), empathy is a core value in you. 


Personally, you’ll can dedicate 5% of your work to do this.


Gradually, you may be inclined to examine a possibility to merge both together – and maybe, just maybe – social work is a possible career switch. At least, this steers the wheel towards something purposeful......




It’s never easy to find a direction within your job. 


Include many jobs within one’s career pathway, without a clear and consistent purpose, saps energy out. The individual gets lethargic through less satisfying roles. They will be performing functional tasks but ends up being “soulless”.


You need to have courage to step beyond and volunteer where necessary, examine your core values and put it back to your job. Expect trade-off in return, such as time.


Make a statement about what you are willing to live for, not just month-to-month remuneration.  Perhaps, the millennial who said they choose purpose over pay may be latching on to a greater outcome.  So, it’s up to us to choose where we’ll like to be. 


Take the courage and time to uncover purpose in your current career. 


If you still remain confused, we are always here to help.  Discovery takes time and is completely personal.  Hence, the 1-1 career session to unlock something within yourself. 


It may start with interests and values.  So, remember to redeem your "10% discovery" code of this program by sending me an email 


See you soon! 


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