Finding Purpose in Your Career

Question: How many jobs in your life have you hunted down like a heat-seeking missile… and how many have just “fallen in your lap?”

Think about the one you hold now. Would you consider it your calling or, at least, a good step on the road to your true passion? We talk a lot about “dream jobs”, but how many of us are actually living ours?

My guess is…not many.

Perhaps part of the problem is that we’ve all been taught that work and play are supposed to be separate. You “work hard” so that you can “play hard” and there’s really not much grey area in between.

To me, this is bullocks.

I prefer to work on purpose. In other words, I do work that I love because it’s part of who I am. I plan my career proactively, rather than simply react to opportunities as they become available. What drives me from within is that I NEVER (ever) want to be the person who – when asked “How are you?”on the elevator at work – sighs “I’m here”, or “Well, at least it’s Friday.”

BLAH! Who wants to live like that? Obviously no one, so the head-smacking question is, “Why do we?” Note: I’m NOT saying that everyone should quit their day job and run out to live their passion. I reject the notion that only entrepreneurs are professionally fulfilled and know plenty of happy employees who work for others.

What I am saying, however, is that life is too short to moan in an elevator and write off eight hours of your life (again) as payment for two hours of fun. So here’s the drill: If your job makes you miserable, find something else. If you’re secretly harboring a career goal, work like hell to make it happen. If you have no idea what type of job would truly make you happy, take some action to figure it out. It’s okay if you don’t have the 10-year plan in place – but it’s NOT okay to wallow in flux.

Be intentional about your life. It’s the only one you have.

Emily Bennington is the author of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job. She hosts a popular blog for career newbies at and can be found on Twitter @EmilyBennington or via email at