One of the most interesting career trends that we are seeing nowadays is that young professionals are putting more of an emphasis on “purpose” when it comes to their day jobs. 

How Our Professional Expectations Have Evolved 

It’s not uncommon for individuals to move between businesses or industries over the course of their career, whereas a few generations ago employees would often work for the same company until retirement. Young people in the workforce are also indicating that “personal fulfillment” and “work-life balance” are more important to them than salary or promotion.  

Today, it’s not just about clocking in and out for a paycheck. We want to make a difference, feel fulfilled, and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. 

It’s important to note that “purpose” is different from “happiness.” If you expect to find a career path that is all fun and games you may find yourself continually disappointed. That being said, you can—and should—seek a career path that will leave you feeling accomplished and satisfied. Not only is this obtainable, you also deserve it. 

In order to find your professional purpose, there are a few questions that you should be asking yourself. This will help you determine whether you should be focusing your time and energy toward finding something more emotionally and intellectually rewarding, and how to best go about doing so. 

Questions to Lead You to Your Purpose 

The first step is to determine whether the job you currently have is the right one for you. Ask yourself: 

  • Are you happy? 
  • Do you feel challenged? 
  • Are you continuing to learn? 
  • Who are you making decisions for? 
  • What will you look back on and regret? 

Based on your answers to these questions, you may determine that you need to change your professional course in order to find greater fulfillment in your career. If that is the case, you’ll want to determine a direction that will fill you with more purpose. At this point, ask yourself the following: 

  • When are you at your professional best? 
  • What factors motivate you to do better?
  • What paths are naturally available to you? 
  • What are your innate talents and skills? 
  • What challenges are most exciting to you? 
  • What logistics need to be taken care of before moving forward? 

Determining When It’s Right to Move On 

Deciding to change career paths after you have spent significant time and effort building a name and reputation for yourself in a particular industry can feel like an insurmountable feat. But you only have one life to live, so be considerate about how you want to spend your time and exert your effort. 

It’s important to not romanticize the unknown. Remember that work will always be work to some extent, so it’s important to think about the types of challenges and hurdles that will be exciting and motivating for you to overcome—don’t just think of the end goal that you would be happiest with. It’s all about the day-to-day grind.  

You should also continually check in with yourself to make sure that you are still being true to your purpose and are finding meaning in your professional life. If not, continually course correct to get the most out of your career. 


Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash