Choosing a Career With Purpose: How To Find a Meaningful Job

CareerPurpose by TIAA is a site we’ve created to help professionals experience and pursue successful, fulfilling careers. TIAA recognizes that more and more professionals in every sector are looking for a sense of purpose in their careers.

Oprah Explains the Difference Between a Career and a Calling | The Oprah Winfrey Show | OWN

How to find purpose in your career

To assist you in finding a career with meaning, think about the following suggestions:

1. Determine your passion

You can pursue a career to follow your passion once you are aware of it. Instead of just looking for a way to make money, finding purpose in your career often comes from doing something you truly care about. Consider taking a career assessment or interest survey if you’re unsure of your area of passion. These assessments frequently list your top qualities and relate them to potential career paths. Keeping a journal, asking a mentor for feedback on your strengths, and speaking with a career counselor are other options.

2. Find a career that combines passion and purpose

Searching for a position that adheres to the following principles can help you choose the right career and give your work meaning.

3. Identify the ways your work helps people

If you already have a job and want to add more meaning to it, think about how your work benefits your clients. To offer a service that benefits people’s daily lives, you don’t have to work for a nonprofit.

For instance, insurance agents may view their role as assisting clients in preserving their property. A graphic designer may also assist businesses and other businesspeople succeed by creating a logo for a new product or business card. To understand how you help fill a need, it’s critical to view your work from the perspective of the people who use your product or service.

4. Look for an impactful organizational culture

People in the workforce are increasingly looking for companies that are more conscious of their impact on their community and the wider world. Where to accept or apply for a position can depend on a person’s desire to do good through their work.

Some businesses are more aware of their social responsibility, whether it be through charitable giving, community service opportunities, or by fostering an environment where staff members can make decisions that have a positive social impact. It might be more fulfilling to pursue employment with an organization that upholds these ideals when looking for a place to start or advance your career. Many businesses include this kind of mission statement in their job postings or on their websites.

5. Find ways to use your career in the community

You can still use your professional experience or time away from work to help others and give your job meaning even if your company doesn’t actively participate in community service projects sponsored by the business. Young students can benefit greatly from mentoring or professional expertise shared at a nearby school. A way to help elderly residents in nursing homes is to provide tech support.

Using your paid time off to assist the community is another way to add purpose to your career, in addition to specific acts of service related to your line of work. You might also find more meaning in your workday by preparing meals at a shelter or managing donations at a food bank. Some businesses will even pay you to perform community service on days off so that you can volunteer your time to help others.

What are careers with purpose?

Professional positions that satisfy your desire to perform work that is significant to both yourself and others are careers with a purpose. While having a rewarding career in any field is possible if you enjoy your work, many professionals aspire to have careers that have a positive influence on other people.

People might seek a career with a mission so they can make a meaningful contribution to the world. Finding purpose can come from devoting your work to something other than advancing your career, which explains why many professionals experience greater happiness and fulfillment when they are employed in meaningful positions. Some career paths emphasize community service or have missions that are more community-focused. These are typically considered jobs with a purpose.

50 careers with purpose

There are several things to take into account when looking for a job with meaning. Selecting a field of study could assist you in deciding on a purposeful career. Given the work associated with each industry and position, the following job categories may be more meaningful:

Healthcare jobs

Many people choose careers in the healthcare sector when they want a fulfilling career. As a career, helping people get well or stay well can be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Here are some suggestions for lucrative and in-demand medical and healthcare careers:

Education jobs

Being in the education field gives you the opportunity to assist students in realizing their full potential through knowledge and practical experience. This career path has a fulfilling goal, regardless of whether you choose to work as a support staff member or a classroom teacher. Here are some ideas for jobs to help you determine your educational goals:

Counseling and psychology jobs

Working in counseling or psychology entails supporting people who are going through emotional and physical challenges by listening to them and sharing solutions to problems. Many take this route in order to launch a career with a goal. Here are some potential jobs in counseling and psychology:

Non-profit and public service jobs

Jobs in the public sector and in nonprofit organizations can easily develop into fulfilling careers. These jobs frequently have a service component and call for professionals to take risks or overcome obstacles in order to perform their duties. Here are some suggestions for jobs in the public or nonprofit sectors:


Is career the purpose of life?

You can see that your career is only a small part of your why. There are numerous ways in which it can serve your goals as well. It might be directly or indirectly causing it, but it is not the only factor in how your purpose manifests itself.

Why is purpose important in career?

Employee engagement and motivation are higher when they perceive that the company’s mission and their own personal purpose are in line. This decreases their likelihood of leaving and boosts employee retention. Additionally, it lessens the expenses and ineffectiveness linked to high employee turnover.

Is career and purpose the same thing?

Your job or career doesn’t have to be what you do for a living. A job can be just to provide for your family, buy food, or improve the community. Your life’s purpose may become clear to you as you go through your typical daily activities. The goal of your life might drop from the sky and land on your back.

What is your work purpose example?

You live to help individuals or organizations stand out. You work to encourage others to speak up and express themselves because you understand what it’s like to feel invisible. You love helping other people achieve great things.

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