This title may have stopped you in your tracks. A Career Coach telling you that everything isn’t about your career? That your purpose isn’t just found in your job! What is all that about?

If you have spent any time on personal development, the Holy Grail is to find a career that gives you purpose. To find and follow your passion and then discover a way to make money. You may even aspire to this inspirational quote, “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” by Harvey Mackay; if you don’t feel you love what you do, you may assume you need to change your career.

A job is something to be enjoyed, not endured. However, it is not the only way to find your purpose.

Let me reframe things for you. Put it into a perspective. I want everyone I work with, and for, to love what they do. However, I don’t always believe that the sense of purpose and passion should be solely within work. When I say work, I mean your time and expertise exchanged with money. At a base level, that is what work is. An agreement and an exchange of value.

I am lucky as my work gives me purpose. As a wide-eyed Psychology graduate, I purposefully found a job in a recruitment consultancy that offered a service that matched my values and ambition. I have been conscious since then to only work with and for people that continue to support those values. On the surface, this seems natural, but it takes lots of self-reflection, encouraged through my employers and continued by my desire to expand my understanding of what I want and where I feel valued.

JHowever, my drive for what I do doesn’t stop when I switch off my emails. Like an intricate web, it expands into the books I read, the places I go, the documentaries I watch and the courses I take. I don’t have a “work persona”; it is all interlinked.


Enough about me, let’s get back to you and the subject in hand.

Anyone else hate the question “What do you do?”

I much prefer the question “How do you spend your time?”. It gives you a chance to speak about who you are. Let’s be clear, what you do isn’t “you”. We are not defined by our job titles and pay slips.
Ask yourself the question now; what answers did you come up with?

How you decide to prioritise your answer can show one of two things. Firstly, if you are listing activities that you have to do (martyr tone) then you need to have a serious look at your work-life balance and self-care!
However, if your list brings you joy, makes you feel excited and energised, regardless of where and when these occur, then THIS is your purpose and passion. Some of these, or all of these, may not be during working hours. It doesn’t reduce their importance or impact.

Your job can be a means to an end

So many people assume that the only thing worth mentioning is “work”. This comes up frequently in my career and interview coaching. Please, let’s stop that belief right here, right here and now. You are a whole, your talents, skills, experienced and interests are YOU.

purpose job parentOften, your job can be your enabler. To give you chance to do the things that really make you tick. Yes, the job may not have the career progression others say you should have. It may not have the pay that you deserve (which is a whole other blog in itself) or provide you with a stretching challenge.

However, if the job gives you the financial stability you need, provides just enough challenge to keep you motivated but doesn’t sap your energy, or gives you the comfortable social group you crave, then the work itself has a purpose.

The purpose may be to help you do and be what you are passionate about. That could be volunteering, a second job, set up your business, study, perform, learn or work on your hobbies.

That is the purpose of your job, to make sure you can spend your time the way you want to spend it. So next time you are asked the question “What do you do?”, respond proudly and tell them who you are!

Join The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox, my Facebook group full of likeminded parents, and tell us more about how you spend your time.

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