Careers: Giving justice to our true talent by doing work that matters

Published: October 13, 2017
Author: Steven Thomas

I read this great article by the modern philosopher, Alain de Botton where he talks about how important our chosen careers are.  He describes that sinking Sunday night feeling we have all most likely experienced at some point in our working lives.  In fact, maybe it's not just Sunday nights. I'll admit that there have been times in my career that I've felt that particular feeling every day of the week.

As ever, Allan goes deeper and explains that we perpetuate these feeling because we actually haven't assessed well enough what the right sort of work might actually be for us.

"it isn’t just that we have some sort of work to do that is dragging down our mood, but that we are going back to the wrong sort of work even while we are in dire ignorance of what the right sort of work might actually be."

What I learned from my own experience was first there is no option other than taking responsibility for your own thoughts and actions.  It's always on you to make that change. Change nothing and nothing changes. Secondly, I chose to accept that things are never exactly as you wish in both your work life and personal life (or maybe just life) and that part of work itself is actually about finding ways to stimulate the parts of your being that perhaps aren't totally fulfilled in 'the day job'.

Allan continues:

"We want to turn the vital bits of who we are into jobs, and ensure that we can see ourselves reflected in the services and products we are involved in turning out."

This can often be a side project or collaboration.  In my own case, CurveFinder serves that very purpose.  There are lots of examples of others who have made their side project into the thing they do for a living.  At the very least, these projects are a worthwhile investment into our 'emotional bank account'.

What I know for sure both from my own experiences, through coaching others and being coached by talented people, is that doing work that matters is essential to us all.

In fact, Allan believes this to be central to our very existence.

"Feeling that we are in the wrong job and that our true vocation lies undiscovered, is not a minor species of discomfort: it will be the central existential crisis of our lives."

Surely then we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to find new ways to innovate our work lives. To turn a possible "existential crisis" into day-to-day nourishment of the soul.  Opportunity awaits us all if we choose it.

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To take a structured approach to setting your goals.


Take inspiration from the teacher who turned writing into a day-job after hundreds of failed attempts.

Main image by William Bout on Unsplash