Stop Waiting for your Dream Job to Make An Impact
Stop the Soul-Sucking
I feel ya. Maybe you’re looking to contribute more. Your current job is life-sucking and you’re so brain dead by the time you get home, the most you can do is pour yourself a glass of wine and plop on the couch for a night of Netflix.
No judgement, I really do look forward to evenings like this, too.
But let’s be real. You’d like to feel a bit more connected at work and the day job just isn’t doing it for you. It’s all starting to feel meaningless working for the man, (side-note: why in 2019 are we still "working for the man"? Maybe we need to divert some resources and brainpower to tackling the patriarchy once and for all?),
and you’re so damn tiered of staring at a screen until your eyes blur and dealing with people, that no way in hell are you going to start researching other options at night.
You want to feel like you’re doing something. Like maybe having an impact besides sorting spreadsheets, banging out emails, and getting “stuff” done. Sure, you cross a ton of tasks off your list each day, but it just keeps piling back on, seemingly exponentially. And you’re starting to forget, why am I doing this again?
Really, what’s the point of it all?!
Existentialist crisis much?
This is a legit question. It’s okay to want to make a meaningful impact in our careers, with our families and in life in general. Lots of times, we expect our job to tick off that box for us, “Made Impact: Gives Mother Teresa a Run for Her Money” and when it doesn’t, it can start to feel a bit empty. Pointless. Disconnected.
Know this: You don’t have to have your dream job to find your impact.
That’s right kids, your social impact points, or whatever score you’re keeping in your head (stop doing that BTW), you don’t need to derive them from your career. In fact, exploring and getting involved in other areas of your life, may help you figure out how to make work more meaningful. WALAAA!
Let’s stop the struggle and search for meaning. There’s a bunch of great authors that wrote loads about that. Read one of them herrr. If you’re looking for some quick suggestions, try out one of these:
1. Ask for a Passion Project: Remember that little company, Google? They let employers nerd out and build projects they love. For me, I felt super unsuccessful as a special education teacher. But I figured out my jam was self-advocacy work and I designed and delivered workshops for parents and faculty that made me get all fired up. Plus, more companies are realizing how beneficial this is, so just ask. How can you do that for yourself?
2. Start Your Side Hustle: One of my clients is fueled by environmental challenges since she witnesses climate change and ecosystem degradation as a chef in the British Virgin Islands. She saw a need for a platform to connect the boating community and has rallied people behind more eco-conscious practices. She didn’t wait for the perfect opportunity to come to her, she created her own. She’s making waves. Literally. Go check her out. What injustice pisses you off the most? What issues in the news make you want to get up and do something? Follow those nudges.
3. Volunteer: Maybe you find a chance to engage with your community in a way that’s totally unrelated to work. That’s okay! Volunteering can have the bonuses of helping you get connected, expand your network, and not feel shitty about yourself during the job search. Or, if you are still working, it can get you feeling good again, maybe a bit more alive, ehh? And with that mental reframing, you might be in a better place to think about how to make feeling-good possible at work too. What skills of yours might be useful to that nonprofit that’s strapped for funding? What type of activity do you want to try that’s different from your day-day? Check out Idealist.org to search for volunteer opps near you or connect with a local org like NewYorkCares.org.
So if you’re feeling in a funk, turn off Episode 13 of whatever it is your watching and do something about it. Get involved and lookout for clues about how you like to contribute:
How am I showing up and serving?
How am I playing to my strengths?
What type of impact am I making?
What do I love about this right now?
How can I create this type of interaction/opportunity in my work setting?
What would I have to do, what would need to change to make this possible?
Go on now, I believe in you. Pa’lante siempre. (That means forward march).