A recent conversation about whether we should work to earn a decent income or because it’s meaningful and/or gives your life a purpose, made me think about why I chose my career. Here’s what I concluded…
“Your job needs to be meaningful for you to enjoy it,” my husband said recently. He’d been listening to a podcast on this subject.
I understood his point; I’ve been a corporate copywriter and it certainly wasn’t meaningful or helping anyone in any way – but the money was good so I stuck with it.
I remember waking up some mornings and my first thought being: “Is this my life now?” The Monday-Friday, 9-6, commuter life felt rather Groundhog Day.
It was always journalism that I felt truly passionate about; telling stories and highlighting important issues. That was the work that felt worthy and truer to my values.
And more recently, I had my first book published – The Freelance Mum. It’s a guide for setting up as a freelancer after having kids. Again, writing this book felt worthwhile.
But then I thought about the online courses I launched, and about the reason I set them up. And the truth is that I launched them in the hope that they’d bring a regular freelance income.
So it was about money; not meaning.
What I soon realised, though, was that by sharing certain knowledge with others – for an affordable amount; and offering some free spaces – I was helping people to improve their careers.
And of course, it quickly became more about this – the joy of seeing someone join my ‘DIY PR‘ course and then get featured in a national newspaper or niche industry mag.
Or completing ‘Becoming your own Boss‘ and then feeling empowered and motivated to launch a new business or freelance career. And doing it.
Or getting stuck into my latest course: ‘How to launch a successful online course‘ course and then sharing brilliant course ideas in the closed Facebook group to get feedback.
And what happens is that when you find meaning in your work – for me: helping others, mostly women, to become more successful in their own careers – you buzz off it.
And when you feel inspired, you have more ideas. Other value you can add or tips/advice you can share. New collaborations. And also, ideas for expanding the business.
So then you find you’re earning more because you truly believe in what you’re doing.
Surely the key to a successful career is one you can enjoy, earn good money from and that helps other people in some way?
I feel like I’ve hit a point now where I’m ticking off all three. And although it’s taken me some time to get here, it’s been totally worth all the failed business ideas, rejections and setbacks.
I’m keen to hear why others have chosen their careers, so I’m launching a new interview series: Work Matters. Coming soon…
And if you’d like a career change – and to be your own boss – I’ve designed an online course teaching you everything you need to know.