Did you major in art history but find yourself working in finance? As millennials and recent college graduates have come to know, your field of study often has little to do with what you actually end up doing. And if this whole situation has gifted you existential pangs, nudging you toward the big, deep “what’s my purpose?” question, you’re not alone.
According to a Harvard Business Review piece by John Coleman, co-author of Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders, the problem rests in the question itself.
According to author John Coleman, our “purpose” is actually plural…it changes, shifts, and develops, much in the same way that we do.
Coleman writes that as a society, we hold some “fundamental misconceptions about purpose,” the largest of which is that it’s a singular rigid entity, adding that our “purpose” is actually plural…it changes, shifts, and develops, much in the same way that we do.
Sure, every once in a while someone finds their one and only true calling in life. But realistically, “in achieving professional purpose, most of us have to focus as much on making our work meaningful as taking meaning from it.” That means “purpose is a thing you build, not a thing you find,” Coleman writes.
Try to remember that there is purpose in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s turning your side hustle into your day job or just getting through the nine-to-five grind.