|(Photo by Tom)|
While the leaders of the organizations have a role to play in correcting this dismal situation, through greater empowerment, creating opportunities for greater learning and growth, better matching employees’ skills and jobs, and employing a more of a coaching style to leadership, this state is a reflection of the prevailing confusion at the individual employee level. Either we are in a job that doesn’t match our skills or we are pursuing it for the wrong reasons. Lacking clarity about the core purpose of our professional life, we are easily swayed by what seems like a popular ladder to climb. For example, with disregard to their real interest or aptitude, we have hordes of MBAs chasing investment banking or consulting jobs. Looking out for quick success, individuals are then disappointed at any pace of personal growth that’s slower than expectation.
Besides, attuned to constant comparison, we are quick to feel dissatisfied when our progress appears undermined by someone else’ faster advancement. Focused on financial rewards, we find the compensation we had earlier aspired for no longer enough to meet our fast growing aspirations. Alternately, we come to recognize the emptiness of single-mindedly chasing financial rewards. Further, for reasons of their personal emotional make-up, many employees search for perfection in their work, boss and rewards, and are easily dissatisfied at the mix the job offers. Clearly, their engagement levels suffer. In addition, for many, there’s a strong correlation between work and life – in fact, work indeed is their life, and their sense of identity is drawn purely from the work they do. With such a strong identification, any ups and downs at work have an immediate impact on their emotional and mental well-being, and consequently on their state of happiness.
Several of my clients also feel conflicted between their deepest values and what they get accustomed to revering at work. Over time, they observe that their actions and behavior are not necessarily in alignment with their core personal values and that’s the underlying source of discontentment for them.
As Woodrow Wilson remarked, “We are not here to merely earn a living and to create value for our shareholders. We are here to enrich the world and make it a finer place to live. We will impoverish ourselves if we fail to do so.”
I believe each one is uniquely gifted and has a special purpose on earth. Such a calling is likely to bring forth those of your unique talents that you most delight in being engaged in – the ones that you were meant to bring to this planet and the ones that serve some meaningful purpose for the society. In a way, the true calling optimally integrates your responses to the following three questions:
The Buddha preached an eightfold noble path as means for one’s awakening. Among Right speech, Right effort, Right action, Right mindfulness, Right concentration, Right understanding and Right view, he also recommended Right livelihood. Finding one’s calling, and engaging in the work associated with that, takes us a step closer to what the Buddha referred to in Right livelihood.