Finding Your Purpose in Work
Mr Geoff Lancaster | Principal | Grammar News | 21 May 2021
As part of Year 10 Careers week our students were involved in a session this week on finding their purpose in work. This session was facilitated by Mike Pola from Seed, a Christian organisation that works with businesses to help them clarify their values and purpose to maximise their impact.
Having a sense of purpose in our work helps us to persevere when things get tough, as well as find joy in our work. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is famous for his work on flow - the mental state in which a person is fully immersed in the task they are doing - feeling energised, challenged, joyful and passionate. The state of flow is when we may lose our sense of time. Although, we can’t always be in this state of flow, choosing a career that aligns with our values and where we can feel we are making a difference is an important component of finding joy and engagement in work. Mark Twain’s apt advice is “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Research into the working life of Gen Z and Gen Alpha from groups like the Foundation for Young Australians and social researchers McCrindle shows that our young people are concerned about big issues like the environment, sustainability, justice and equality. They are not content to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others or the degradation of our environment. As a result, most corporations now take Corporate Social Responsibility very seriously as they know that job seekers want to work with organisations whose values align with their own. Our work takes up a lot of our lives so it is important we believe in what we are doing.
On a flight to Sydney a couple of years ago I read about a company where the CEO said they don’t want to be the best company of that type in Australia, but the best company for Australia. I think this perspective is a good one for us too. We don’t want to (only) be the best school in Australia but the best school FOR Australia, sending students into the world with a sense of purpose to bring about positive change to our local and global community.