Being able to make a difference is key to making a career or a job enjoyable and fulfilling – regardless of what career path you choose. Unfortunately, many people make career choices for the wrong reasons. They leave college thinking that all they need is to be paid well or have a secure job so that they can live the lifestyle they think is possible. As much as that sounds reasonable, having a good income or secure work will not necessarily bring you job or life satisfaction.

At the age of 15 Greta Thunberg began her career when she started protesting climate change. What was happening to the environment mattered to her so much that she felt she must do something. She acted on that and very soon the whole world started noticing.

Studies have shown that people who are motivated to do something or want to add value somehow have a greater chance of finding life and career satisfaction. Greta wasn’t worried about what career she should train for, rather she followed the very thing that mattered to her and now her career path is defined. Just last month the University of Helsinki awarded her with an honorary doctorate.

We may not have the passion to protest like Greta Thunberg or a fascination for gorillas like Jane Goodall, but we can work out what matters to us if we really think about it.

Choosing a career or work that will give you life satisfaction is a very personal thing and relies on you knowing what matters to you and then using that as a thread to guide you.  For example, when I needed to re-enter the workforce, all I could think about was that I wanted to help people reach their potential. I had no idea what I needed to study to do that kind of work, but I followed that thread and found my way to working in career development. The learning and study were intensely fascinating and I continue to love the work.

So, a career decision is not easy to make until we know our ‘Why’. Simon Sinek wrote about this in his book “Know your Why” (Student Edition). He said; Achieving fulfillment starts with understanding exactly WHY we do what we do. His message is that finding a purpose can be a guiding principle throughout life.

Your ‘Why’ could be to make money, but it could also be to help our community, to grow a worthwhile business, to fly people around the world, or to build beautiful buildings. Whatever it is that you find yourself thinking about, hoping for, or involved with because it fascinates you, that is the thread to follow.  Following that thread will take you to the courses that interest you and eventually, the work that will keep you motivated, learning, and making a contribution.


Kaye Avery

CareerEQ and CareerSmart