You Don’t Really Want a Job. You Want a Purpose.

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” –Confucius

Here’s a little secret. If you’re transitioning between careers and all you’re doing is looking for a “job”—you’re not digging deep enough.

Jobs come and jobs go. If you’ve been recently laid off, you understand this as well as anyone. There really is no such thing as “job security.” What’s more, the whole idea of having a job is really about just having a paycheck. It helps you eat and pay the bills, but not much more than that—and if it’s not a job you really love, you’ll eventually come to resent it.

And sadly, if you’re like 85 percent of the population, you know what that feels like, too. Because that’s how many people in America hate their jobs.

What’s my point? You shouldn’t be looking for a job. You should be looking for a purpose.

Where Is Your Passion?

What do you really love to do? What sorts of things fill you with a sense of purpose and fulfillment? Once you understand the answers to these questions, then you can look for a job (or in some cases even create a job) that lets you pursue those passions. And that’s when you feel like you’re not working a day in your life. That’s when you feel energized about getting up and going to the office, studio or workspace every day. Make sense?

How Do You Turn a Purpose into a Career?

Let’s ponder another quote:

“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.”—Katherine Whitehorn

To be clear, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have a job, per se. A career based on purpose rather than a paycheck can take many forms. It might be a position at a firm; it also might be a business you start for yourself, or even a nonprofit group. The idea here is to refine your job search by identifying the pathways that best serve your purpose. Yes, that means you might even have to say no to some opportunities that don’t fit within your purpose. However, that doesn’t mean you’re limiting your options. In fact, by thinking in these broader strokes, you’re actually opening up more possibilities, for yourself, not fewer. You open yourself up to ideas that might never have occurred to you if you were still just looking for a job.

No matter how long you’ve been between positions, I urge you if at all possible to avoid the snare of trying to get a job just to get a regular paycheck again. Think of this transition time, this time of change, as an opportunity to discover (or re-discover) your purpose—then let that purpose inform your direction as to a future job or career.

If you can do this…that’s when you’ll start to see that change itself can be the greatest gift you’ve ever been given.