Why Do You Work?

Why do you work? When and how did you learn about the concept of work? I don’t think
most people ponder on these questions. Maybe I’m a bit weird, but I do. These
questions were the dominant thoughts which led me to write my third book “Put Your
Purpose to Work.”

For many people, work is unfulfilling, devoid of meaning and simply a means to a
paycheck. This does not have to be so. If you understand that your work should be the
expression of your purpose, the reason why you are on this earth at this time, where
and how you work will become more meaningful

Some Reasons Why People Work

There are at least six reasons why people work; to earn an income, to gain status, to be
independent, to stay busy, to have fun and to fulfill their purpose. These are all good
reasons, but I believe the main reason we should work is to fulfill and express our
purpose. So, here’s how I define work:

Work should be how we express our purpose using our natural abilities to contribute our
part to the world

Work is not just about earning an income or adding value or using our gifts. Work is how
you and I express, manifest, and fulfill the reason/purpose for which God created us. Till
this becomes a foundational truth, we will not fully realize and express our life purpose
and will not find the deepest satisfaction work has to offer. And yes, you (and I) were
created for a purpose.

How Did Things Go Wrong?

Unfortunately, there are fewer people working to fulfill their purpose than there are
working for the other reasons.

And here’s why: For many, including myself, our concept of and reason for work were
unconsciously shaped by the adults in our lives when we were kids. Through their
words and actions, we learned the connection between work and earning money.
Conversations in the home between parents about family budget, things that need to be
bought for the kids and the house, planning vacations etc., helped many of us see how
money—or the lack thereof—affects the foods we eat, clothes we wear, and things we
do. In our teenage years, parents would often encourage us to get good grades at
school so that we can get a good job and earn a good income. And all this driven by
their experience and a desire for us to be independent. Good motives but not always
healthy over the long term.

We heard the money conversations at home but more importantly, we saw how our
parents responded to work; whether they were excited about work, tolerated it to earn
an income, hated and complained about it, were always looking for the next promotion,
etc. What we saw and heard at home most likely shaped our unconscious relationship
to work.

A recent client of mine, let’s call him Steve, had worked as a business consultant for
most of his career, and realized that financial security was the key reason why he
worked. As we explored his childhood, it dawned on him that his dad’s work
experiences left a deep and negative impression on him. When Steve was a kid, his dad
started and failed at a few businesses, and this brought immense hardship, instability,
and insecurity on the family.

Stability and security became his drivers for work. This quest for security meant he
always looked for stable, well-paying jobs. The idea of loving your job was foreign to
him and did not factor into choosing a job. The result was dissatisfaction in every job he
got. Why? Because he was using the wrong parameters to choose his work. He worked
for the wrong reason.

When he heard me say that “work should be how we express our purpose using our
natural abilities to contribute our part to the world,
†I must have sounded like a Martian;
he just couldn’t grasp that concept. Not immediately. But later in the coaching process,
it clicked.

Working to express your purpose means that you use your natural abilities in the work
you do. This is how to add immense value to the organization you work for.

Four shiny silver balls hanging from a string.

For Steve, using the Highlands Ability Battery to identify and learn about his innate
abilities was a revolutionary experience. Looking at his past and present jobs through
the lens of what he was naturally good at rather than through a (singular) focus on
financial security, he clearly saw the disconnect and reason for his dissatisfaction.

As a Specialist with low Classification, high Idea Productivity, high Spatial Relations
and mid Spatial Relations Visualization, his work as a business consultant
moved at a very fast pace which he did not enjoy. People wired like Steve need a job
with a fairly predictable schedule, where they have the time to research and dive deep
into a topic or problem on their own, brainstorm solutions in a small group and lay out
possible outcomes of implementing a solution. He was frustrated by not being allotted
enough time to really delve into the core issues clients were facing.

He now works as a content developer and writer in the Finance industry and spends
time researching and writing about things like the impact of AI, cryptocurrency and other
emerging technology. He loves his work, is very good at it and, most importantly, now
knows he is using his natural talents to add immense value to his organization.

What Young Executives Want

Of all the generations in today’s workforce, Gens Y and Zs care most about working for a socially responsible company and expressing their purpose at work. They want work that is meaningful but are often still plagued by unconscious programming and deeply embedded mindsets about work from their childhood. Twice a year, I run a career coaching workshop for the Georgia Tech Alumni Association and participants are mostly in Gens Y and Z. Working closely with them through this program has helped me better understand these generations. As they seek employment in socially responsible organizations, they may still be driven by the desire to move up the corporate ladder and make good money.

90% of my coaching clients are well-paid young executives moving up the corporate ladder but have realized that they are internally dissatisfied with their job/career. There is a dramatic emotional shift when they are quipped to choose a job/career based on how they are uniquely designed and the genuine value they have to offer based on the results of the Highlands Ability Battery assessment.

The fulfillment you’ll get from working for a ‘socially responsible’ company pales in comparison to that which comes from working to fulfill your “why†aligned with your natural abilities to make a meaningful contribution to the organization. The latter leads to greater personal satisfaction and authenticity. And yes, you can also achieve status and earn a good income.

Put your purpose to work

A man in a suit and tie smiling for the camera.

Highlands Consultant, Kene Iloenyosi, founder of Talent Revolution, teaches his clients how to discover their Purpose and work in their Career Sweet Spot. This process starts with identifying their innate abilities, and how best to use them in a fulfilling and engaging career.

Through his workshops, keynote presentations and group coaching, Kene guides his clients and audiences through the Talent Discovery and Application process and starts them on the path to identifying a role/career path within their company that fully engages their talent.

His books, “Putting Your Purpose to Work,†“Finding Your Sweet Spot” and “DNA of Talent
have helped put thousands of people on the path to discovering and working in their talent zone.
To learn more about Kene and his work, visit www.talentrevolution.me .

Recent Posts