Make meaning, not money. At first glance, this doesn't sound like a viable way to find a career. But today's generation would literally take a pay cut for a job that gives them purpose. Meaningful work has replaced the dollar sign as the number one criteria for job satisfaction.
Fortunately, you don't need to forgo a steady paycheck to find meaning in your job; you just need to join a company that understands the importance of a purpose-driven culture.
Here are three quick tips to get you started.
1. Do your research
In the midst of a job hunt, it can be tempting to jump on the first offer you get, especially if you're fresh out of college or a high-profile company is knocking on the door. But pedigree doesn't always equate to a healthy corporate culture. If you allow yourself to be wooed by empty perks, you might be back to the job board sooner than you thought.
To find the right culture for you, do your research — and never accept a job until you know what the company stands for. Read reviews online (websites like Glassdoor are a good place to start) and check out their social media accounts. This will give you a clear idea of how they treat their employees and what the business acts like in real life.
At the end of the day, finding sense of purpose is personal and truly comes from within.
2. Have a reverse interview
Job interviews can be intimidating and uncomfortable. But between the nerves and sweaty palms, most applicants overlook the fact that interviews are a major opportunity to leverage facetime, and are a chance to interview the company, too.
Employers use interviews to learn more about potential hires and their skills, motivations and objectives. All too often it's a one-sided scenario where the applicant is pressured to practically beg for a job! But before you sign on the dotted line, shouldn't you have access to the same information? When it's time for your interview, go in prepared with questions about the company's values, priorities and culture.
3. Define your personal values — and find a company to match
At the end of the day, finding sense of purpose is personal and truly comes from within. No matter how hard you try, you'll never find meaning with a company that doesn't share your values. The best way to cultivate meaning at work is to find a team who shares your passions.
Determine your core values by asking yourself what qualities are important to you — in your life, your relationships, and your career. And then (here's the kicker), don't compromise. You wouldn't stay friends with someone who made you feel inadequate or talked behind your back — so don't work for a company or with co-workers like that, either.
A job that forces you to go against what you believe in isn't a job worth having. And people who work for a company that's aligned with their values are happier and more engaged. When everyone is working together as a part of a bigger movement, that's when the true meaning behind your work will shine through.
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