Purpose: A key element of career satisfaction

Dave earns enough money to support his wife and three children in an upper middle class lifestyle.  He has a good boss, works for a stable company in Connecticut’s strong insurance industry, has reasonable hours, and is good at his job.  Sounds pretty great to most people.  Indeed, I had to remind him of this fact when he came to see me. 

“I know. I feel like I’m ungrateful when I say I’m unhappy with my career. But I never envisioned myself doing what I’m doing.” Dave relayed his all too typical career path.  After graduating from the University of Connecticut in the mid-90s, he took a job as a business analyst with a large insurance company in Hartford.  He stayed there for five years and then moved closer to Shoreline, CT where he took a job with an excellent mid-size insurance entity.  He did well enough to consistently gain promotions.  He found himself at 42 years old with a good title, good salary, working with nice people, and performing quite well at his job.  Yet, throughout his career and particularly in the last five years, he had become increasingly discontent.  

“I started to realize that I would be really dissatisfied with my life if I was still doing this at 50. I drifted into my career, buried my head in the sand when my kids were young, and now find myself feeling trapped.” 

Dave’s themes of desired career satisfaction were not uncommon: he wanted more creativity, really feel like he was building something, and do something more in line with his values.  He finally said what I was about to say: “I want to fell purposeful in my work.”

Purposefulness – another key element of career satisfaction.