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People who want to make an difference in the world have often been underserved by career guidance. Our values and our idealism have been scorned as naive while anxious family members have pushed us towards financial security rather than meaning and fulfillment. If we decided to pursue work with a purpose, we focused on the non-profit world and their correspondingly low paychecks.
And when we got our non-profit job, we then discovered that the actual work focused more on tasks like report-writing than change-making. We believed in the cause, so we went against our personality and natural strengths to do the work that needed to be done. After a while, this took a toll, resulting in burnout and bitterness.
For example, much of my career guidance comprised of career assessments like the Myers-Briggs with a list of seemingly random job titles, few of which seemed relevant and none that were exciting to me. My passion and sense of purpose didn’t fit neatly into the Department of Labor’s job categories. So I looked at job descriptions to find out what kind of skills were in demand and just ended up applying for random positions. I took what was first offered to me, then spend years fighting against myself because I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I didn’t live up to my potential at my job because I was ambivilant about the company I worked for and was constantly trying to find an organization that better fit my values.
I finally got into the social impact world after going back to school to get my Masters of Social Work. From there, I worked for multiple non-profits and international development organizations and I saw that what I went through was played out in different ways, over and over, patterns like:
What about you? Are you wanting to make a difference in the world? Are you disappointed in where you are today? If so, try a strategy of career design that puts you in control and that leads to a creative, interesting, and meaningful job search. Here are some alternative strategies to the obstacles above:
Changing the world takes patience and persistence. Find ways to keep yourself motivated and resilient. If you want to experience career design for yourself, you can sign up here.