November 18, 2021
“What am I even doing here?”
“Am I just on auto-pilot?”
“Why do I feel so…stuck?”
If one or more of these questions have bounced around your brain at work recently, you’re not alone. More and more, employees are expressing a sense of malaise. A recent New York Times article refers to this feeling of aimlessness as “languishing”, a limbo state that keeps us hovering in the discomforting ether, somewhere between thriving and depression.
Chalk it up to pandemic exhaustion, threats to our individual and collective mental well-being, or just good old-fashioned dissatisfaction, more and more people are feeling stagnant, both in their personal and professional lives.
What’s missing? In our recent interviews with accounting and finance professionals – at every level – we are hearing the same thing: a sense of purpose.
We work, and we may do exceptional work, but when we log out for the day, many of us are not feeling like we’ve contributed to the greater good. What that looks like varies from person to person. We needn’t be personally responsible for some grand, global initiative to feel like we’re making a difference. Most of us simply want to know what we do matters, more than a paycheck, more than a glowing midyear review, even more than “customer satisfaction”. We want to leave the world a slightly better place for having been here, and we want to let what that feels like resonate inside us.
This quest for purpose is showing up in how employees evaluate their career choices, workplace, and strategic employment moves. Accountants One recently polled over 100 Accounting and Finance individuals on LinkedIn and found that 45%, the majority of our respondents, agreed that culture and mission are what make an organization stand out, versus 31% who said compensation and benefits were the defining.
Additionally, many employees have traversed the pandemic only to discover that they were missing a quality of life that is more valuable to them than other benefits. Work from home options and flexibility around hours have become a perk that has grown into an expectation for job seekers and existing employees alike. For so many, the pandemic served as an existential reckoning, a time to evaluate what matters most. We woke up to the notion that we wanted more from life than our work, and we wanted our work to feed our lives. We were – and are – hungry for purpose.
While some may go to great lengths, such as a complete career change, to connect with that sense of purpose, it may be as simple as recalibrating your work in your existing field. One way many of us quantify our work is by defining the value we bring to an organization. But what about qualifying the values you bring instead? When we explore the principles that define us and the ones we aspire to, we create more space for what matters in our work. It stops being a job and becomes the calling we (hopefully) once felt it was.
- How are you helping others?
- How are you enriching your tiny corner of the world?
- How is the company you work for showing up for its employees, customers, and communities?
Questions like these will help you forge a path toward greater purpose with your work.
Of course, sometimes perspective isn’t enough. Sometimes we must change the way we work. This might mean delegating certain tasks to make room for more meaningful aspects of your job. It might mean taking a different approach with clients to explore how you can create mutual fulfillment. You may also find that taking the lead on a company initiative – a fundraiser for a charity, the sponsoring of an event – might help you better align with your values at work.
At times, a more substantial change is needed. Perhaps your work environment isn’t inspiring you to embrace your truest values and you are ready for a new opportunity. Or maybe you’re already looking for that next job and want to be certain you align your profession with your purpose. We get it. Accountants One recognizes that, for many people, job satisfaction doesn’t come from a bump in pay. We’re here to help you with that search, and more. Accountants One exists to help career counsel and collaborate as a trusted career partner. We want to help you feel good about the work you do each day, and we’ll help you explore the market to find the career that aligns with your highest priorities. That’s our purpose. We’re excited to learn more about yours.
Ready to meet with a trusted career partner?
If you’d like to speak with a team member about finding purpose in your work, please get in touch.