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How to Find Purpose in the Business World

Can You Find Purpose in Earning Profits?

Our work makes up such a large portion of our lives that it is natural to stop and wonder if we are reaching our potential in pursuing a purposeful career. Sometimes that means leaving our current job and moving into a similar role at a non-profit organization, or finding a way to get involved in altruistic activities that make the most of our skills.

Many large corporations offer volunteer time off to work on company-sanctioned initiatives, but the feel good moments can be short lived once we are back to our regular workday routine. That puts us back where we started, asking ourselves how to find purpose through our work.

If we look beyond our desks, into the vast horizon of the organization as a whole, we might see greater meaning in our work. We just need to ask the right questions:

 

  • What is the end product my company produces?
  • Does it improve people’s lives in any way?
  • Is the world a better, safer or healthier place because of my company?
  • Does my organization provide a service that makes a difference?
  • Are you selling a technology that makes life easier or more convenient?
  • Does my company share its profits with employees?
  • Do the communities where my company operates benefit from these profits?
  • Is my organization involved in sustainability efforts?
  • Are we recycling, conserving energy, or reducing waste?
  • Does my company’s leadership care about the things that matter to me?
  • Do I feel that I can trust your organization’s ethical compass?
  • Am I earning a good living that allows me to lend financial support to others?

If, after a deep dive into your career, you find that you are not helping society in any way, then it is time to make a change. Now that you know what is missing, you have a better chance of moving toward a new opportunity that will fill the gaps and satisfy your greater goals.

If that is not a possibility for you, think about using your experience and education to help others outside of work. Maybe you can get involved with students interested in accounting careers, volunteer with a group that needs a professional to look at their books, or teach an adult education class on finance basics. You may just come across a new career opportunity along the way.

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