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Purpose, Work, Authenticity and Satisfaction

A recent Gallup study shows that a significant number of Americans are very dissatisfied with their job.

The 2013 State of the American Workplace Report 2013 shows 30 percent of employees are engaged and inspired at work. Gallup surveyed more than 150,000 full- and part-time workers during 2012. That’s up from 28 percent in 2010. A little more than half of workers (52 percent) have a perpetual case of the Mondays—they’re at work, but not excited about their job.

There are many reasons jobs seem to be more torment than terrific.

If one is not living authentically — following their heart over their pocketbook — the daily effort for a bi-weekly paycheck seems disingenuous.  Success, when measured in dollars and cents, more often than not becomes pursuit of profit rather than the pursuit of happiness.

Alain de Botton, the contemporary social observer, penned The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.  This book is written through the eyes of the philosopher and examines the many facets of career and culture.

Simply summarized, workers that have a connect between their vocation and their passion find immense satisfaction. De Botton asks the vital question “is success measured through economic gain or something more personal, more authentic to the core of who we are inside our soul.

Here is a short TED video by the author that amplifies his thoughts on success and satisfaction in life.

American coaching clients very often speak of dissatisfaction in their work/life balance – unable to advance into a more prestigious title, greater salary and perqs, bigger office and role.  The inevitable trade-off is less time with family, higher degrees of stress, greater demands of performance and sacrifice, competition and internal politics.

Following your heart usually means sacrificing income and benefits.  Contemporary society pressures well educated people to advance, prosper and conform.  For many, this is contrary to their authenticity as an individual.  Living a successful life based on salary and title may not truly be leading a genuine life.

Enjoy this blog entry from Brain Pickings on purpose and success.

Parents should seriously consider guiding their children to follow their hearts.  Parents should listen and observe to help kids navigate to the talent and voice within their children.

Teens must be inspired and motivated to examine the emotions and philosophies that resonate within.  As they move beyond high school, some will seek to work with their hands.  This is noble and such skills should be encouraged if it is genuine and authentic.  College is not necessarily the avenue for all.

Knowledge and wisdom comes with lifelong education, solid communications and collaboration.  Failing to follow a satisfying personal path — a path with purpose — will contribute to a life of questioning and dissatisfaction.

Purpose over profits.