Finding a fulfilling career can be quite a journey, let us help you make that journey as smooth as possible. A professional digital creative working for various green and social impact projects for more than ten years shares her tips, insights, and personal anecdotes in this article.
Almost 1 out of 4 Americans below 40 have contemplated changing careers during the pandemic. Our isolated lives seem to have given us more time to introspect about essential aspects of who we are. Questions like, “Am I doing what I am truly talented at?”, “Do I need to go on with this unfulfilling career while the world is going through big shifts?” and “Is this where I want to be career-wise five years after?” Friends, families, and even strangers have reached out to one another looking for answers, hoping to fill the gaps. The level of longing for meaning is becoming stronger. People aspire to be part of something bigger than themselves – pursuing change, connection, and inspiration as the world goes through uncertain times.
“It feels like life is asking me to leave this work that no longer fills me,” my friend’s voice cracked, and I knew then that I had to listen intently.
I have been on many calls across countries in the past two years. The difficult times have led me to conversations that are opportunities to grieve, ponder, and hold space together. I have noticed that one of the most discussed topics is the intensifying longing to find more purpose-driven and fulfilling jobs.
Perhaps, our moments of isolation have cultivated more space for deep reflection. What a powerful time amidst all the anxieties! People want to act upon their inner aspiration of taking charge and welcoming essential changes.
In the USA alone, almost 1 out of 3 under 40 thought of changing their occupation since the pandemic began. The result is according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll. It is as if the uncertainties have stirred people to create more meaningful lives.
I am in my 12th year in the creative social good industry – taking projects that focus on sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and art as activism. I consider it a privilege to share these guide points on how I have made it to where I am now: immersing in flexible fulfilling jobs.
How to find a fulfilling career path
What kind of job is fulfilling?
Focus on your WHY.
Creating a path to some of the most rewarding careers is powered by your why. Your why is the intention behind this shift. It defines your values, beliefs, and ethics.
Do you want to be at the forefront of a fulfilling career? Does this allow you to tap into the wealth of your talent and use it for more meaningful reasons? These are foundational questions you need to consider.
Unfulfilled with my purely digital marketing job 12 years ago, I was trapped in a rut and was only doing things for the next payday. There were many days that I did not look forward to opening my laptop and working on my tasks because they were repetitive. It also frustrated me that my interactions with leads were not engaging at all, almost robotic.
I remember writing down my intent, purpose, and vision about the career change I was about to take. The process of owning my aims and feeling the words bleed from my hand to the paper through the ink gave me a sense of catharsis and manifestation.
Have you ever written down yours? Try it. It does not matter if you write well or not; it does not matter if there are erasures. Be specific about what you want to happen. This tactile experience will help you gather your most important insights. Have you ever told someone your why with honesty and vulnerability? You should. Share with a friend what you want to achieve this year. Remember that words are powerful. Affirming your goal of getting a purpose-driven career by speaking it out can be the first step to making it happen.
As you do so, you will gain clarity. You will also have a closer look at what you need to prioritize as you begin this new journey.
What is important to you in a fulfilling career?
Act from a place of wholehearted attention.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the ideas and dreams you have in mind?
Ground yourself by giving time for research. Creating a simple database of online resources enables you to know the purpose-driven and fulfilling careers you can pursue. Find out options, compare role availabilities, and apply for opportunities that resonate with you.
Begin by reading articles about the best service-oriented jobs, entry-level green jobs, and non-profit gigs in your area or remotely. Online platforms like Game Changers give in-depth resources about companies, organizations, and brands that uphold their purpose and not just mainly profit.
Where to look for purpose-driven jobs
Research companies that focus on environmental or social responsibility and green job boards
Initially, I created a spreadsheet with the details I gathered from my research. It stored company and organization names, specific links to their job post, contact person, and contact information.
Remember to be keen and fact-check every information you want to include.
Here are the top 3 websites you can start with:
- Idealist – Connects people who dream of a more dignified world. It hosts job opportunities and other collaborative opportunities for people around the globe who dream of working the most rewarding jobs.
- Work for Impact – A freelance platform designed especially for ethical, sustainable, and non-profit organizations. Jobseekers and freelancers can access opportunities through it as one of the best green job boards.
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy – Chief news source for the philanthropy world has a job search section that shows about a thousand remote and on-site work on fundraising, executive roles, programming, green jobs in New York, and other areas.
This database of potentially fulfilling job opportunities serves as your guide for application. Develop your CV and cover letter based on the information you have gathered. Pay attention to the details in every job post you feel interested in, and make sure you highlight points that can show why you are an excellent match for the job opportunity.
Working with various ethical brands and organizations has enriched me as a professional and a human being. When I apply for a project or gig, I try my best to get to know the organization by reading about them, looking into the managerial team, reading about their mission and vision, and watching or listening to other available media that talk about what they do.
Furthermore, when there are aspects of the job or project that I don’t understand, I give time and effort to read about them. I even find time to know more about the founders or the owners, looking into their values and journeys. I go to their website, Linkedin profile, or past features and interviews. I believe that the leader has a powerful influence on organizational ethos.
As you send out your applications, stay centered on your why, and complement it with the technical details from your research. Through this, the right people will sense and trust the intent.
Found what seems what the most fulfilling job in the world?
Learn further as you wait for the yes.
The urge to get that fulfilling career is quite intense. After applying for specific posts, you might find yourself checking the inbox all the time. The more proactive way of managing this time of your life is by learning further.
As you wait for client responses and the coveted yes, immerse yourself in education. Are you excited to wake up daily doing a purpose-driven job? Raise your awareness by learning new skills – administrative tasks, creative writing, fundraising, creative campaign development, communications, PR, etc. These top skills are in demand specifically for those who want to do remote work during this global pandemic.
Be open to ways of getting yourself trained in various skills and experiences. It will only give you more options and opportunities to get hired.
There are also free courses and high-quality tutorials to guide you through Coursera, Udemy, Youtube, Nonprofit Ready, and Philanthropy University.
If you want to get inspired by real-life stories, you can also look for people already established in these fields and learn a thing or two from them. When I was at the beginning of my career shift, I felt fueled by amazing energy by reading the blogs of people who have already made that change in their life. Reading their narratives about their breakdowns and breakthroughs encouraged me. It made me believe in a community of people just like me who dream of doing something more for society.
Embody a heart-forward fulfilling career mindset
Your pursuit of a purpose-driven career has been in your heart all along. Perhaps, circumstances in the past did not allow you to go for it. Jobs that do not resonate with you take a lot of thinking. It then leads to burnout. Even the idea of keeping it afloat for the next payday is mind-centered as you count the bills you need to pay and the shopping cart you need to fill.
This time, you are following your heart. You are making a life-changing decision.
I sometimes receive messages asking me about the work I do. They also mention how I can still express my soft-heartedness in such a competitive world. I tell them the truth – that I try to do my work with a heart-forward mindset. It does not mean that I am neglecting systems and technical knowledge. These are very foundational. For me, heart-forward is getting energy from what I find meaningful. It is growing conscious online communities, writing pensive stories about nature and the care it deserves, designing experiences that allow people to lean on their imaginative solutions, and taking part in background tasks that make social healing initiatives shine.
All the best to your journey of finding a rewarding career. You deserve it.
Your path is unique, and when it gets confusing and scary, go back to your why. Always.
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Author: Kristine Buenavista hopes to continuously catalyze a shift in our culture towards a value system that prioritizes sustainability, diversity, and creativity. She is the Co-founder, Experience Designer, and Head of Storytelling of Artivism Iloilo and Alima Community – community initiatives that use imaginative and artistic suggestions and solutions for complex ecological, humanitarian, and site-specific issues. She has been working with purpose-driven organizations, brands, and groups for more than ten years now – helping them become the changemakers they aspire to be through personal assistance, creative writing, branding, and high-level research. When not working on projects, Tin finds solace in stalking wildlings while she reclaims her wildness through snorkeling, outdoor cooking, and being with children (at heart).