We all want a fulfilling career. Who wouldn’t want to do work that they feel means something bigger than themselves? Even if you see your work only as a means to obtain financial security, finding a career that allows you to clock out and maintain a great work-life balance will make your career meaningful.
To know what would make a career fulfilling for you, you need to do some research, introspection, and experimentation. Here are some steps you can take to find a fulfilling career that will fill you with purpose.
1. It’s Not About Never Working a Day In Your Life
I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s not about finding a career that doesn’t feel like work. The phrase, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” doesn’t tell the full story. You can absolutely love what you do, but it can still feel like work. And sometimes it feels like a lot of work. It’s about finding the work that you want to do.
Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners will work day and night to make their dreams come true. It’s certainly going to feel like work. But if you have a vision you’re working to realize, then you’ll have a willingness to dive into that work and do it with passion.
So what makes you want to put in the effort?
2. Choose Purpose Over Fun
Some of your friends’ careers sound super fun on social media: lots of travel, lots of rewards, lots of parties.
But at the end of the day, would you rather have a fun career or a fulfilling career?
If your career is fun and you find it fulfilling, you’ve got the best of both worlds. But if you feel like you aren’t serving a larger purpose, how long will the fun feel like it’s enough? An important component to a satisfying career is feeling like you’re doing something meaningful. That definition changes for every person. No two people will feel fulfilled by the same career. You have to do the research and soul searching to find out what that career looks like for you.
3. Determine Your Ideal Work-Life Balance
Different people have different outlooks on what they want in their work-life balance. Some people really love the 9 to 5. If they work in a healthy work environment, they can truly unplug and walk away at 5:00. That means they can spend time doing what they love with who they love. Some people will flourish with the unpredictability and flexibility of a freelancing schedule. Having late nights might be worth the ability to shift things around to fit their day-to-day life. Figure out how much you need to separate your work from your life, and that will help you find a job that fits those needs.
4. Figure Out What Yearly Figure You Need
While it would be great to live in a world where people could pursue their passions, not a paycheck, it simply isn’t the case. Some people have more financial needs than others. A single dad needs to consider how he’ll feed his kids. He still deserves to have a fulfilling career, but he needs to make sure that career covers his and his kids’ financial needs. You can’t enjoy a fulfilling career path if you can’t afford to care for yourself outside of work. A fulfilling career has to sustain you outside of your work hours as well.
5. Determine Your Stability Needs
Some careers are more stable than others. Freelancers have to accept that there is no predictable paycheck. You can have incredible months, and some months you might have difficulty making ends meet. If you love what you do, you need to factor in the skills of budgeting and client acquisition to make it possible. You also need to make sure that you have the stress tolerance to handle that insecurity.
A career that really excites you, that you think you’d love, may not have enough stability for you. If you like to plan your life out months in advance, being a photographer who picks up last-minute shoots may not fit your lifestyle. Find fulfilling work that fits with who you are as a person in and outside of the office.
Finding a Fulfilling Career Requires Experimentation
No matter how much research you do, there’s no way to find out if a career is for you without trying it. Whether you shadow someone you know in the industry, take some courses, try an internship, or do some freelance work, you have to try out the career before knowing if it truly is your dream job. It might check all your boxes, but it just lacks that spark for you.
You can only discover this fact when you experience the day-to-day grind of the job. To find a fulfilling career, you need to be willing to explore outside of your comfort zone. You never know what you will find out about yourself when you push yourself to try something you never thought you could do.Published in
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.