Finding a job isn’t easy, and being happy with it isn’t either. When we look for a job, we commonly filter our search to one that:
- Covers our expertise area
- Pays fairly well
- Is close to home (commute for more than 1h is a waste of time)
- Gives us a reasonable amount of vacations
- Is a place where we can learn
- Allows us to get better at what we do (do you like what you do?)
Did you ever question yourself, what would make you really motivated about your job? Maybe the items on the checklist you have just read, aren’t the only things you should consider.
Did you ever think about your purpose? What really motivates you? Are you generating any value with your work? In what way?
Let’s try to think about what usually happens when you haven’t found your purpose…
What happens over time, when the routine starts ruining our days?
We start getting easily tired. We find excuses to distract ourselves, or we possibly start getting sick (more than usual), and we only think about weekends and holidays. We start trying to avoid work. Therefore, it is highly probable we aren’t getting better at what we do because we lost focus.
Why? Because we are failing to find meaning and purpose in what we do. When we fail to do this, we start looking elsewhere. We crave for change, something new. But how do we know we won’t end up in the same place after finding a new job? I mean, how do we know that in the desperate need of change, we are moving towards something that is worth our time and effort? Let’s get real, switching jobs is stressful and it takes time. So this is the moment we must try to think further and don’t underestimate that gut feeling. Ask ourselves: “what makes me vibe?”
I am aware that finding the perfect job is difficult, and hey! there’s no such thing as the perfect job. But, what I’m trying to say is that, if you could find your purpose, it is likely you’ll find that extra motivation and meaning in what you do. This will definitely stimulate and make you want to get better and better in what you do. Finding your purpose is key to helping you strive to actually deliver value, to what matters to you the most.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make you think there’s something wrong with you or your job. I see this as an invitation to reflect and find meaning and purpose in what you do. Some may think it is a bit idealistic but, this really helped me personally. Ask yourselves: What makes me feel passionate and excited? What makes me feel like I’m not wasting my time?
I’m going to tell you a bit of my personal story so that this article becomes a real case scenario with signals and evidence. I think it’ll help not to sound like I’m preaching to you 😉
At 26 years old I was directing the marketing department in a famous fashion brand, back in Argentina. One afternoon, walking my dog with my mom, I told her “I think I don’t want to work anymore in a place that makes people buy things they don’t really need”. She was a bit surprised, because of all the effort I had done to get there. But actually, I’ve always had this altruistic side in me, or always trying to be conscientious. I needed to talk it over with some colleagues, friends, and family. I just needed to know if I was being crazy. They all answered pretty much the same: “That sounds great, but a bit utopic. At the end of the day we all need to work. Maybe you can have a side project?”. At that time I was young and I dropped the idea of thinking furthermore about this. Besides, I guess I wasn’t surrounded by a context that helped to get deeper into this.
As you see, there was no conciliation between purpose and work in the answer they gave me. It seems that being conscious and mindful about how we spend our time, is being utopic or unrealistic. Just do the math: 8 hours per day, 40 per week, 160 per month, on average 1920 hours per year. That’s A LOT of time.
One year later I decided I wanted to go and do my Master's in Barcelona. After choosing between plenty of places and programs…Guess what? I chose a school whose slogan was “Designers can change the world”. My second signal. This place really boosted my thought process and introduced to me Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.
After many tutoring sessions, I came clear about which was my personal purpose: “To generate positive impact in people’s lives through design”. I wanted to spend my time doing meaningful things, businesses, jobs, relationships, hobbies, etc. And let me clarify. You don’t need to be working at Google or The Bill and Melinda’s Foundation to impact society — but if you are there, great! I guess it’s really important to get surrounded by what will help you fulfill your need and desire. The context, place, people, projects, textbook, etc. Here I was able to nurture this “crazy” way of thinking, which wasn’t crazy at all. It made perfect sense. I wasn’t the only one thinking and feeling this way.
Two years ago I was invited to work as a Service and UX Consultant in another country. I was so excited, flattered, and intrigued about the idea of continuing to develop my skills and sharing my experience in a new place…So I said “YES!”
It was a wonderful experience, I learned so much and I gave my all. But while working on two specific projects, something happened. I found myself helping companies trying to engage their users with cool experiences. But, the downside was that while researching how they could do this in a better way, I understood they were profiting from hiding and giving confusing info to their clients. The team and I always explained the importance of transparency and how they could profit from this. But to their eyes, this wasn’t viable and it would make them lose money. I think our message reached some of them and hopefully, in the near future, they’ll get to see the full picture.
This was the moment I realized I was responsible, and that I needed to be sitting in a place surrounded by people who matched my purpose. I wasn’t generating a positive impact, in fact, it was the contrary. I wanted to spend my time attending to real needs, making things better through design and tech.
Gratefully, Get on Board appeared in my life, but I still wasn’t sure if that was the right step to take.
So, I prepared a checklist and I did some research to see if this new job matched my purpose:
- What’s my personal purpose (me)
- What’s the company’s purpose and mission. Do they walk the talk?
- Do these two purposes match?
- Who do I work for? (users)
- How will my work impact users?
- Who do I work with? (team) Values? Attitude? Energy level? Curiosity?
- Who’s steering the ship? (the boss) Values? Attitude? Energy level? Curiosity?
After doing this exercise and remembering these signals I’ve just shared with you, I understood I was on track. I was aligned with my purpose. Once again I said “YES!”
Adding to this, I want to share two things that happened after accepting my new job.
- Sergio Nouvel, CEO & Co-Founder, talking in Colombia about the importance of getting involved 👉🏻 I recommend watching it: https://youtu.be/Ic2sYXKB4aY
- Talking to our, CTO& Co-Founder, Jorge A. Rodriguez: I met him before starting off, and of course, we talked about how important it is to work in something that matters. He told me Get on Board had received a few messages saying “thank you”, from people who lived in Venezuela needing to find a job. They have found one thanks to us.
These two things confirmed that my check-list and signal observation had worked :)
This is why it’s so important to do that extra work and try to find your Why, your purpose, — why are doing what you’re doing?- I am truly convinced that although it isn’t always in our power to “do good”, we must at least try. Use the tools we have, to try making some sort of change or contribution. This being: sharing knowledge, making people aware about being better consumers, making companies conscientious of selling honest products and services, buff! The list can be infinite.
I’m certain that my entire journey was worth it, and that every step counted. I don’t expect everybody to share this train of thought, but I feel it’s worth sharing. And well, if this helps some of you to be happier, then my goal has been achieved ✅.
I’m not saying you must always prioritize purpose, and go crazy trying to find meaning, because it takes time… But my suggestion is that you give it a try at least at one point in your professional life. This helps you stay motivated, to stay devoted to your cause, Sunday evenings stop being depressive and Monday mornings turn out to be exciting!
So thank you Get on Board, for inviting me to join the team!