First, start by answering some important questions about your work life and your personal life to bring clarity to your career plans:
- What are your personality strengths and your skills?
- What experiences have enriched you most?
- What interests would you like to pursue?
- How do you like to spend your time?
- What would you be doing if you didn't need to earn money?
- What do you consider your greatest accomplishments? How did you create those successes?
- What social issues are most important to you and spark your passion to create change?
After you've answered the questions above, look for trends and patterns that can guide you in a new direction. If, for example, you're skilled at mentoring others at work and are passionate about education, switching to teaching or training others could be a good fit. Maybe you're interested in financial education after having experienced the recession. You could consider a purpose-driven career as a financial professional or working with a nonprofit that helps people solve money problems.
While many workers from previous generations focused on developing a linear career path, staying with the same company for 40 years and then collecting their pensions, the world of work has changed. Most companies no longer offer pensions or expect employees to stay for decades; there are jobs available today that didn't exist 10 years ago; and employees are demanding more flexibility and balance in their work lives. Consider a switch to a purpose-driven career and research to find a match between your interests, skills and positions that are available.
If the idea of finding your purpose and committing to a new career is daunting, keep in mind that whatever you opt to do now doesn’t mean you can’t shift to something else in the future. Your interest might evolve over time. For example, you can start your career as a nurse, believing that's the best way to help people, but later decide you can have a greater impact working in health care policy.
Focus on building your skills, identifying your interests and looking for opportunities to develop your purpose-driven career.