Finding Purpose

I recently had an epiphany surrounding my pursuit of framebuilding. The mentality I’m taking into it is that of “side job/hobby that brings in income” — for now. Should it grow to the point where I can be self-sufficient, I will have to take a good, hard look at my career, and what the potential impacts are, personally, of jumping ship. Thus, I’ve been reading up on the psychology of choosing a career. (I, like many, seem to have “fallen into” my career.) In my reading, I came across this:

One of the most common mistakes is not recognizing how these value systems will shape you. People think that they can insulate themselves, that they’re different. They’re not. The relevant question in looking at a job is not What will I do? but Who will I become? What belief system will you adopt, and what will take on heightened importance in your life? Because once you’re rooted in a particular system — whether it’s medicine, New York City, Microsoft, or a startup — it’s often agonizingly difficult to unravel yourself from its values, practices, and rewards. Your money is good anywhere, but respect and status are only a local currency. They get heavily discounted when taken elsewhere. If you’re successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and opportunity can lock you in forever.

This excerpt comes from an article at FastCompany, and it’s worth reading.

I am at a crossroads in my life that is both inspiring and terrifying. I am getting married and we intend to start a family soon thereafter. Career-wise, I’m in pretty good shape — I make good money, I work with decent people, and the work is interesting. But it’s not inspiring, it’s not satisfying. So the questions I’ve been asking myself are: what is my life’s work? Is it more important, with a family, to be financially well-off, or to be happy? The answers, to many, are obvious. Not to me.

So I ask this of you, my readers:

1. Have you found your “life’s work”?
2. If so, how did you get there? How did you know you’d landed in the right spot?
3. If not, are you actively looking for it?

2 thoughts on “Finding Purpose

  1. I think I’ve found my “this-point-in-my-life’s work.” I don’t intend to be an attorney forever, but for as long as I am, I’m almost positive I’ll be doing government work.

    I very quickly shifted from thinking about going into private practice, to non-profit work, to lobbying, and then finally to government work when I was in law school. When I started law school, I wasn’t 100% sure what any of those really entailed, and it took meeting people and actually working in non-profit, lobbying, and government to find the best fit for my work ethic and personality. I know I could never do private practice. The trade-off between money and time isn’t worth it for me. I have no desire to work 80 – 100 hours a week to line someone else’s pockets. Non-profit work was very satisfying, but it’s even more political than working for the government and the pay isn’t really life-sustaining in most areas. I really thought I wanted to be a lobbyist until I met and started working with them. I realized that I have a soul, so I couldn’t in good conscience do what they do. I still had a passion for legislative work, but wanted something stable, so I went with government. The pay isn’t as high as with a private firm, but the stability and the ability to have a life outside of work outweigh that for me. My first job was the best job EVER. I love the work I did there. It was exciting and interesting and always changing and I was constantly learning new things. My love of that job was the only thing that kept me in DC for all of those years. Lifestyle eventually won out and I moved, but sought out something similar. I tried administrative law for a while (B-O-R-ING!), and then got back into legislative work at the state level and I am once again happy. I love the work, love the people I work with, and love where I am at this point in my life.

    All of that being said, I don’t want to do this forever. At some point, maybe 10 years from now, maybe 20 or 25, I want to do something totally different. I want to open a B&B somewhere and do some travel writing. I’ve done some research on the B&B thing, and plan to take some writing classes, but I don’t see myself quitting my day job any time soon. I see that as more of a psudo-retirement gig though, so it can wait.

  2. I never did. But, I can get interested in pretty much anything and everything. I may not know what my bliss is — but at least I have good-enough-for-now.

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