Finding Purpose: A Work Story

My work life has been less than satisfying in the past two years. I have often wondered if I took a wrong turn or missed an opportunity to do something more satisfying. As a clinical social worker, taking a break from direct service is often necessary and offers an opportunity to rejuvenate oneself. There are so many difficult stories, tragedies, and frequent “bad” days. There are also triumphs, celebrations and satisfaction in meaningful work that cannot be measured in dollars. I have been out of direct practice for almost seven years. Perhaps I took too much time away?

On the bright side, I have worked with some incredible team(s) and developed more administrative skills. I also work alongside smart, ethical, and compassionate people. I have learned much and been challenged often. There is a certain point though where I stopped being challenged. There is very little risk in my current role. With support, I decided to consider my options. What did I need to feel fulfilled? I read books, worked with a mentor, met with my old mentor, and attended professional development trainings. I meditated, prayed, and exercised my way through a variety of feelings, most especially fear.

What I discovered was that I had allowed myself to move away from the types of projects and programs that connected directly to the people in our “business”. Based on a significant change in my department, I no longer had access to the ‘work’ that connected me to purpose. No matter what business, field, or job you should always do something that brings you joy. Right?

Well, at some point in the past two years, I had made a decision to go with the flow, to not make waves, and to not rock the boat. Ultimately, I refused to have several difficult conversations which led me to be angry and disappointed. I did not honor what was valuable to me. Today, I recognize that no matter the outcome, its critical to speak up. It’s a much easier and less painful way to discovering what you want. 

This weekend I celebrated a new job. In fact, I received two job offers a day a part. Both positions felt purposeful and ‘right’. As I went through the interview process, I was hopeful and committed to finding what would work for me. Interestingly, as I have gone through this very long and transformative process, I noticed I become a better parent. The more content I was, the more present I was to my family and engaged in what’s most important in our lives. 

I am truly grateful!

6 thoughts on “Finding Purpose: A Work Story

  1. The best part about your brave awakening is that you will really appreciate the things in the new job that are in harmony with your true self. I have worked in the same job for 22 1/2 years (after a number of unsatisfying jobs in the same profession) and every day I am thankful that I get to do what I do. The company may have changed its vision and/or I am more tired and cranky, BUT the actual work is something I adore. You need the bitter to appreciate the sweet, alas. Good luck on this big change!

  2. Congratulations on your recent change. I completely agree its important to speak up and try to change things when they are not right. When this isn’t possible for one reason or another, I still think its helpful to make sure that others know what they might face in a job, or with an employer. That’s why I’m building a site for working women to rate their companies:

  3. Natacha– You walked through that fearsome door and made it all the way through into a new room that is your space to be in at this point in your life. Congratulations! Indeed, there is no way out of that which haunts us, only through. I celebrate with you and your family that you have spoken truth to yourself and acted on it. Brava, good friend! And much love,

  4. This is awesome! I always love reading your stuff, Natacha … you always manage to show so much honesty in your writing. Congratulations on facing that fear head on and opening yourself up. Wonderful things happen when you take … the … leap. I hope that the next leg of your journey is fulfilling!

  5. Congratulations! I am very happy for you. I find this so hard, and so important, rock on: “I refused to have several difficult conversations which led me to be angry and disappointed. I did not honor what was valuable to me.”

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