Opinion

Blanton: Here's how to chose a career with purpose and meaning

Posted 10/4/21

Choosing a career path with true “meaning” is something that many people talk about, but not many people do. The idea of working for a greater good and turning it into a profession is an ideal that many individuals struggle with and often have trouble shifting into a reality. 

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Opinion

Blanton: Here's how to chose a career with purpose and meaning

Posted

Choosing a career path with true “meaning” is something that many people talk about, but not many people do. The idea of working for a greater good and turning it into a profession is an ideal that many individuals struggle with and often have trouble shifting into a reality. 

While the pandemic has been devastating for many, it also brought about a positive shift that forced many to step back, reflect and reevaluate how they spend their time personally and professionally.

I’ve heard it called the “great resignation,” a movement for members of the workforce leaving their desk jobs and searching for greater meaning in their 40-hour workweek. It seems as if these job seekers aren’t just quitting because they are unhappy at work.

They are leaving because they know they could be happy elsewhere. And they are aggressively looking for elsewhere and a position that can provide more purpose-driven opportunities. But the question still stands, how do we align our life passions with our work?

Some people have a natural calling, while others need to be inspired. My path was a bit of both, but I always seem to end up at the same place where I started, alongside my sister Dylan. While Dylan and I have a similar sisterly relationship as any would, there is a slight difference in that Dylan is one of the more than 400,000 individuals who live in the United States, born with Down syndrome. She came into this world surrounded by love.

Still, as a family, we were also thrown into a world of social marginalization, segregated education, inadequate health care, and lack of access to opportunities that those who do not have an intellectual disability take for granted.

I’m one of the lucky ones who aligned my personal and work passions early on in my career, and I hate to brag, but I have the best job in the world. As CEO of a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive programs that empower adults who have intellectual disabilities, I have the privilege of connecting individuals, like my sister, to dynamic learning experiences that will help them thrive. We fight for their independence, growth, and access to community resources.

Most days, I leave my desk knowing I did some good for not just the individuals we serve but for our communities as a whole. Do you have a job like that?

While any position can feel rewarding if you are generally happy with your job, don’t discount the idea that there might be a similar but meaningful career path that can positively impact others and contribute to your community in a meaningful way. Dedicating your work to something other than our intrinsic career motivations can be very meaningful, and it often lands you where you least expect it … like being a CEO, for example. 

Not sure how to get started? I’m sure you have heard that common saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Well, what would that be? What would you change? Chances are, there are already organizations out there doing the kind of work to make those changes a reality. What’s even better is that they are probably looking for people just like you to further their mission and help make our world a better place.

So, if you have been thinking about shifting your work-related priorities and are open to embracing a new purpose-driven opportunity, I would encourage you to take that leap without fear of falling.

I am certain someone out there wants and needs your talents, and my organization is no exception! Come and see for yourself. We welcome the opportunity to share our mission with others. It might just be the inspirational moment you’ve been looking for.

Editor's note: Madison Blanton is CEO of One Step Beyond, a nonprofit that provides educational, vocational, recreation and performing arts programs for adults who have intellectual disabilities. Visit osbi.org.

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