Career Fulfillment…Does it Matter. Should it?

I consider myself very fortunate in this life: My career as an executive recruiter in the security industry provides me with a great sense of purpose.

Luck, is part of it, no-doubt, but it also took a lot of effort to get here. Like others, I’ve had jobs that left me feeling unfulfilled at the end of each day. But this—recruiting security industry professionals and matching them with employers seeking top level talent as well as helping many with their career development—isn’t one of those jobs. As a matter of fact, I view it as more than just a job or my career – It’s a mission for me.

Everything changes when you love your career. I know it might sound a bit dramatic, but I know from personal experience. I understand the degree to which career fulfillment is important differs for all of us. Some may crave it more than others. Some people need success in their career to feel whole when others can take it or leave it. However, by and large, most people working for a living want to feel some sense of career fulfillment.

Career success is an important component of individual success

Most of us are taught, at an early age, to be viewed as “successful” people, we must reach a minimum level of professional achievement. Our sense of personal self-worth has become connected to our professional worth. So, during those periods when we experience professional dissatisfaction, we believe it’s a deeper reflection of who we are as individuals and what we’re capable of, rather than seeing it as a matter of circumstance that can change with proper effort.

One-third of our life is spent working

From the time we reach age 18 until we are age 65, most of us work 8 hours a day 5 days a week. That adds up to nearly 100,000 hours spent working in an average lifetime. That’s a significant percentage of the time most of us have to spend on this planet.

If you aren’t fulfilled by the work you’re doing each day, your life may feel empty.

Work gives a means for survival for you and your family

Your career is what puts food on the table and a roof over your head. It’s a requirement for basic human survival and thus, it’s a necessity. A job is not something that most of us can do without. Because of this, an unfulfilling career can start to feel like a heavy burden to bear instead of a productive part of life. It heightens your stress level and can lead to a host of mental and physical illnesses.

Identifying some type of career fulfillment will lead to a more comfortable level of existence on the most basic level. You will likely feel a deeper sense of personal growth and development and your perspective will broaden, shifting away from that of basic survival mode.

Your career is closely tied to your personal identity

When you meet someone for the first time, what is usually the first topic of conversation? In most instances, people use their career as a topic to break the ice. “What do you do?” is the most common way to create small talk and get to know someone new. If you’re not happy with your particular job, it can make meeting new people something you loathe. By the end of the conversation, you feel like a complete loser. Why? Because, your career has been tied to you -the individual.  It’s not really “fair” but that’s the reality of it. When you have pride in the type of work you do, it shows. Others hear it in your words and see it in your facial expressions. Personally, you feel good about yourself. You find yourself enjoying these types of conversations much more and so does the other person.

In today’s society, right or wrong, we tend to put people in boxes. Identifying them by their career is a common way of doing this. You’re a teacher? I have a mental image already. An accountant? A different mental image. There’s a widespread practice of stereotyping others based upon their job. This can be upsetting for many. In working with a wide variety of people and backgrounds as a recruiter, what I learned is this: Regardless of what you do, if you enjoy it, it doesn’t matter what others may think about it. Don’t give in to that (real or imagined) sense of judgment from others.

Career fulfillment can change the world around you. If you desire this, allow it and create it. But don’t try to fool yourself by denying that it matters.

David Lammert

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