WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR DAY JOB DOESN’T GIVE YOU PURPOSE
July 30, 2017
THE EARLY QUARTER LIFE CRISIS
As a millennial, I am all too familiar with the crux of the early quarter-life crisis. The feeling of not achieving your full potential, falling behind on goals, and having to face life’s toughest questions in the midst of a cold, cruel and unforgiving world. Those questions being: Who am I? and What should I be doing with my life? Looking back over your life choices and having to ask yourself: did I make a mistake?
Too often I find that many of the college grads that I mentor are finding themselves at these very crossroads. Not knowing what to do with their lives and worse, facing heartbreak at their college investment because of it not living up to it’s promise of the dream-life they expected post graduation. Many of my friends even, are young millennials, whom feel like there is something “more”, but either don’t know what that more is, where to find it or how to get there. Working jobs that they hate, feeling like there’s no exit and don’t know what’s next.
I am so passionate about helping people avoid these crossroads of crisis because I was one of those people who followed the “script” or the “expected standard” and found myself stuck at the end of the process. I worked hard in high school so that I could get into a good college. I then worked even harder in college so that I could land a great job post graduation, with the expectation of security and satisfaction. I achieved one of the highest seats in my campuses Student Government Association, graduated with honors, was pegged to be one of the more successful graduates, and yet found myself homeless for a period of 9-months after graduation. Sleeping out of the backseat of my car, eating off of the 99-cents menu at drive-thru’s and feeling more and more like a failure with each passing day.
I didn’t know who I was, where I belonged nor was I able to land a job and I was running out of survival resources. But I believe there is a blessing in hitting rock-bottom, because that was the place where I was faced with a choice. Either I was going to give up on life or be determined to push forward in spite of. I had to make a series of tough life choices (asking for help, swallowing my pride, facing my fears, taking some risks, etc.) and having to learn some things the hard way, but in 9-months, I went from being homeless, to landing my dream job. And after having learned the hard way what it really takes to land your dream career, I became determined to help everyone else in my generation to do the same and go from Zero to Impact, whether it’s landing a job, becoming an entrepreneur, or preparing to enter the world with success post graduation.
That’s why I wrote the book, Unfollow The Crowd: The New Education For Young Millennials Who Crave Purpose, Freedom & Impact, and created the new workshop, From Zero To Impact. These are my personal guideposts sand systems to help people get clear on what they really want, identify their true passions, real strengths and recalibrate their inner compasses so that they can get on their most promising pathway to success. Maybe you’re working a job and feel like you’re just a number or working hard but don’t have a voice. Maybe you find yourself working hard but you don’t feel like you’re making any noticeable impact. Maybe you feel as if people aren’t recognizing you for what you do well or are not being compensated for your worth.
CLARITY IS THE BIG SECRET
You have to get clear on what you really want. Consider the most successful companies in the world. There is a reason they are successful and have impact. Before they create one product, produce one commercial or even launch, they first get really clear on who they are, why they do what they do, who they service and how they do it. And every product or service they create is an extension of those core tenets. So if the smartest entities in the world are following this process to be successful, then why shouldn’t we as individuals?
The first thing most employers will ask of you in an interview is to tell them more about yourself, when what they are really asking you is: Who ARE you? While most candidates will recite the perfunctory laundry list including first and last name, hometown, school, GPA and every other canned answer, can you honestly say that you are clear on who you are? What are you honestly best at? What are your true strengths and weaknesses? Do you have enough experience to know this for sure? What angers you? Scares you? What do you get on your soap-box about? What is your marketplace value for your skills, experience and influence?
CLARITY IS ATTRACTIVE
I live by a mantra: There is at least one life changing opportunity that comes along every day that has the power to change our lives. Most of us miss them because we are not trained to recognize them (a result of not being clear on who you are, what your real strengths and passions are and what you really desire for yourself). In the final chapter of my book, I tell a story about landing my first dream job. I talk about being on my way to the airport to take a job in another city that a family member had “hooked me up” with, but it wasn’t what I wanted. It was way out of the scope of my skills and desires and I knew that I would be miserable. In a nutshell, I took a detour, went after the opportunity I really wanted and landed my dream job within two hours as a walk-in.
When you are clear on what you really desire, you will be more prepared to recognize opportunities and speak confidently in any interview and they will see the alignment. In that 9-months of homelessness, I became clear on what my dreams really were. I became clear on what I really wanted, so I was more easily able to recognize the opportunity when it came across my path. Sometimes, to figure out what you want to do with your life, you have to first figure out what it is that you don’t want to do in order to zero in on your prospects and market potential. And I suspect, your having more clarity will end up being the thing that helps you prepare for what’s next for you too.
So no matter where you are on your success journey, I challenge you to answer the questions I mentioned above, to get really honest with yourself on who you are and what you really want. Not the expected standard: choosing the major someone told you to enter, or taking the job someone told you to take, or even worse or scaling back to your plan B, out of lack of your own internal understanding. And be willing to take at least one bold step of action in the direction of your inspired hunches.