Make a Life, Not Just a Living – Finding Your Purpose at Work

Recently a client said something to me that really made me think.  This individual said his purpose was to serve his clients. The statement in and of itself is not what caught me off guard, but it was the fact that he was a Senior VP of Operations for a large national restaurant chain.  I asked him who his clients were.  The answer: General Managers of his restaurants. I thought to myself, “The General Managers are your clients?” Here, this Senior VP of Operations had made employee engagement the sole purpose of his job.  WOW! How many of us can say that we have a defined purpose at work; or better yet, in life?

 I believe that author Tom Thiss said it best about purpose, “Having a purpose is the difference of making a living and making a life.”

In a recent Gallup Study on employee engagement, it said that 71% of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their jobs, and only 29% are said to be engaged in their job! This made me wonder – had they defined their purpose at work?  Oddly enough, when I did a simple Google search on employee engagement it led me to the all-knowing Wikipedia and the intriguing statistics below:

  • Only 31% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. These employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. People who are actively engaged help move the organization forward.
  • 88% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact quality of their organization’s products, compared with only 38% of the disengaged.
  • 72% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively affect customer service, versus 27% of the disengaged.
  •  68% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact costs in their job or unit, compared with just 19% of the disengaged.

Employees who are engaged in their jobs feel a strong emotional bond to the organization they work for. They tend to recommend it to their peers and place more time and effort in helping to see the organization succeed. Working toward a common purpose, feeling that they can make a difference and personal growth were the common motivating factors of engaged employees.  I find it interesting that those intrinsic factors outweighed common extrinsic factors ,such as higher pay and rewards, in motivating employees. 

This past January, all of our Senior Management team read a book titled Purpose by Nikos Mourkogiannis. Shortly after the reading assignment our company created an internal purpose – “To make good people better.”  Following our company-wide internal purpose, every department created their own internal purpose.  It was a great way to get everyone involved in thinking about their own purpose within the company and – getting them to live it.

I challenge every one of you to sit down and write-up what your personal purpose is; challenge your colleagues to do the same. Don’t just create it –live it every day.  I would love to hear back from you on what you came up with. Hopefully you’ll find yourself not making a living, but making a life!

David Pettit, Business Development Director, Red Book Solutions


6 responses to “Make a Life, Not Just a Living – Finding Your Purpose at Work

  1. David,
    This is excellent! Very inspiring.
    I think you have done a superior job.

    Susie O

  2. Very poignant and really makes you re-evaluate not only one’s profession/workplace, but your personal life as well. Excellent Dave!

  3. Dave,

    Whats the point if you don’t care what you are doing for your self or your company or for your employer. Everyone needs to find there “IT” factor. Work should not be about the money, but pride!

  4. David,
    Well said indeed!! I feel so fortunate to work for a small company where everyone is passionate about what we do – enable families to store their children’s teeth. You have truly found your niche – very happy for you – here’s to living purposefully every day…. thanks for sharing, Jill C.

  5. Alfred Emmanuel Rellama

    Excellent, Can I share this to my employees, friends and church young pro.


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