Aligning Passion and Employment

I am often asked “how can I align my passion for giving back with my role at work?” As a coach, my goal is to help others identify their passion(s) and provide guidance about how they can incorporate and hold in high esteem these passions in their work lives. As Millennials (defined as ages 24 to 39 in 2020) continue to become the largest segment of the US workforce, finding this alignment will only become more important.

According to data from the US Census Bureau, the Millennial generation has surpassed the Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation. In fact, by 2025, millennials are predicted to make up 75% of the workforce. As Baby Boomers age and retire from the workforce, they are being replaced by this new generation – a generation with a different outlook from the generations before them. Baby Boomers are seen as hard working, independent, and goal-oriented in business terms. In contrast, Millennials are looking for ways to contribute to society in unique ways beyond the boardroom.

In a study conducted by Gallup and presented in State of the American Workplace, Millennial workers in the US were asked to rank the importance of 12 different aspects of the “employee experience.” The data suggests that they are most interested in:

  • Seeking meaning and purpose in their employment.
  • Pursuing personal and professional development, not overall job satisfaction.
  • Being coached (not managed); they expect their managers to coach their performance and to value them as people.
  • Ongoing dialogue and feedback about their performance.
  • Development of strengths.

Ultimately, this data suggests what many American employees are looking for in their chosen career: they want to do fulfilling, interesting work with people they enjoy while still having time to live their life and pursue their passions. This is where career coaching plays a vital role.

Throughout my career, I have served as a thought partner to clients seeking to find their purpose and passion. Successful clients know what they want to accomplish and why it matters to them and to society as a whole. They also understand that aligning their actions with their values makes achieving these goals not only possible but probable. The first step is to clarify and/or identify your personal values...what really matters to you. Here are some simple questions to ask:

  • If there was a secret passion in your life, what would it be?
  • If you could devote your life to serving others – and still have the money and lifestyle you need – would you do it? How would it look?
  • What, in your opinion, must you accomplish during your lifetime so that you will consider your life to have been truly satisfying and well lived?

So, back to our original question: once identified, how can one align their passion with their business role within an organization? Let’s take, for example, an employee who feels passionate about working with a certain charity. In many circumstances, an organization will allow employees time off (sometimes paid) to seek personal fulfillment by volunteering or mentoring. In some cases, employee passion may help shape an organization’s interest and/or investment in the community. Oftentimes, all the employee has to do is to ask the right people. Most importantly, they must be able to understand and clearly state how that fits within the organization’s overall mission.

Have you clearly identified your passions? Would you like to further discuss ways to align these passions with your work life? Contact me to take the next step to explore whether coaching will help you reach your goals.