In nearly 25 years of employment, I have never dreaded going into work. That's largely because I have accepted positions with the clear understanding that my purpose and passion drive my life's decisions. After all, it was my choice to apply and accept every position I've held.
At an early age, I realized my individual job satisfaction was important. This pursuit of purpose, or a "calling," has been my strength since my first job delivering newspapers before school each weekday. It wasn't the money from my paper route that brought satisfaction; it was seeing my customers smile.
Every day that I delivered their papers on time brought a smile to my face as well.
So here is one key question to ask yourself: Does this job opportunity align with my purpose in life?
Now, difficulties do arise when we're identifying career options and seeing whether they fit our purpose and passion. I don't recommend pursuing employment that you have no interest in doing. I have personally declined or withdrawn from a job opportunity. We should take responsibility for our professional decisions.
You will never completely love or enjoy all your duties, responsibilities or even the perks that come with your job.
Take Meredith Vieira, who loved her job as co-anchor of NBC's Today. But when she left after five years, she said there were things she wouldn't miss, namely getting to the studio hours before daybreak and the long workdays.
There were challenges, too, in delivering my papers. There were days I wanted to sleep in because of Michigan's many snowstorms. However, I was committed, and my parents helped me with that. The lesson was to persevere regardless of the storms.
Of course, I give my mother and father credit for coming to my bedroom on a few early occasions and telling me to "get out of bed; you decided to take on the responsibility."
This did help with motivation and was a constant reminder to do the right thing.
Early on, integrity was also reinforced as an important value, and it's key to what drives me today.
Having a conviction will help in your pursuit of purpose. It serves as a compass or what some call your inner voice.
Consider these ways to help identify and work toward your purpose and passion:
■ Invest time in researching areas of interest.
■ Seek an area in which you are happy about your contribution.
■ Know your personal strengths and interest.
■ Accept all that you have to offer a company, as well as your shortcomings.
■ Salary is important but not the driving criteria.
■ Learn to be spontan eous; change is here to stay.
Additionally, it's vital that people take enough time to conduct research about the industry, organization and locations they are considering.
Investing time in researching these areas keeps you honest about what you are passionate about doing. You should be keenly aware of your likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses and interests.
Failure to identify and secure employment in an area of purpose will make you more susceptible to low job satisfaction throughout your career.
I'm an advocate of investing time in yourself and fighting to identify, experience and secure your life's purpose.
There's no scientific evidence that we have a "purpose gene," but spending time researching what you enjoy doing will be worthwhile.
You can then seek ways to be compensated for what you'll spend most of your life doing. You can look forward to working a minimum of roughly 100,000 hours in your lifetime, so why not have high job satisfaction?
And remember, you don't want to be held hostage by a job. If you wake up and realize you're in a job that's not fulfilling, you might not be able to leave easily because of financial constraints or some other bondage. You need a paycheck, after all.
Nevertheless, this is not all terrible because I'm suggesting that this is a journey. I hope that you're purposefully evolving.
You might be experiencing a different purpose at this stage of your life's work. Most people don't remain focused on a single vocation or even stay with a one company their whole life these days.
I enjoy sharing and reading about this topic, and recall an interview by Barrie Davenport, a career and life transition coach, addressing how she thinks working in accordance with her purpose has affected her. "It has changed me entirely," she said. "Doing what I love has profoundly impacted how I feel about myself and how I view the world."
I hope that you too are moved to seek out your purpose and passion. Don't forget that this is a journey that won't happen overnight.
I hope you decide today to join me on my travels.