Nowadays, people are hopping jobs like switching gears. A simple Google search on “why hop jobs” providing me more than a billion results in 0,56 seconds only confirms this. It’s huge. All the blogs, videos and infographics are full of pro-hopping arguments, and at least spend a couple of paragraphs on why it’s mostly millennials switching roles. But what really caught my eye is this: more and more people don’t see the purpose of the work they’re doing. The perfect recipe for stress (and all that comes with it) if you ask me. And with the emerging rise of workplace burnouts, this is definitely not something we need.


Essential life principles

So, how do we tackle this issue? Purely focusing on the fact that people don’t see the purpose in their jobs, we could state that giving it reason (again) will go a long way. Or at least move us in the right direction. When we see the purpose of the work we’re doing, it becomes more rewarding and enjoyable. What we value in our lives - what we hold as important - plays a central role in this.

Principles that we find desirable, important or even essential in our lives, are what we would call our core values. If what you do is in line with these values, your actions produce satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment. But if there is a misalignment between our actions and values, this can cause us to feel miserable. For example: when autonomy is high on your agenda, but you work in an environment where your manager is constantly lurking over you - it’s highly likely you won’t feel happy. However, when you’re given responsibility and trust in doing your job, this will result in a sense of happiness.

Our personal core values - reflections of what we care most about in life - can be narrowed down to the following (work related) types:

  • Intrinsic values: Such values have more to do with the actual tasks involved in fulfilling a role. For example: helping other, doing something meaningful or practice great leadership.
  • Extrinsic values: These values are concerned with what you get out of your work, rather than what you put in it. Like: a salary, job security or great colleagues.
  • Lifestyle values: What and where you work creates a certain lifestyle. The type of lifestyle you desire, is what defines your lifestyle values.
Setting course

Our values act as a compass for who we are and how we act. Ignoring this compass can lead to a lot of frustration or discomfort at work. It can feel like something just isn’t right. On the longer term, working in an environment that goes against our core values can lead to serious health issues both mentally and physically. Many people burnt out at work because they have been trying to fit their square-shaped values in round shapes, not just because they have been working extremely long hours.

In contrast, if we possess a clear sense of our values and act according to them, we are able to set course. When people work in a role that fulfils their needs, they experience higher levels of job satisfaction and their productivity rises. We not only stay healthier, it also has benefits for the organisation as it leads to a positive work culture and, ultimately, better business results.

Finding your motivation
Defining your core values is to determine what motivates you. What could motivate someone else, might not motivate you at all. Are you driven by respect, a high salary and frequent travel? Or do you rather have a job that is more connected to helping other people? Once you find out what motivates you, it will become easier for you to define your ideal job and lifestyle, and how to pursue that career.

For some people, this is easier said than done. A lot of us aren’t even aware of our core values, and experience a feeling that “something is just wrong” at work, or in our lives. Many of us have been through multiple roles until they figured out what they we’re actually motivated by. But the interesting thing about our core values is that even if you’ve never consciously considered them, they have always been a part of you. We mostly become aware of our values when something questions or clashes with them. Setting some time aside to think about what is really important to you, will help you achieve far greater success, motivation and happiness.

etting your values and work in synch could be the step in your career, if not in your life. So take a moment to find out what your values are, and how these values will fit your career. It will give your work purpose (again), and make it much more enjoyable.

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