The past year has really given us all a chance to reflect on what matters most to us. I’ve had discussions with many friends and colleagues about the desire to to find meaning in what we do in our careers. Wanting more than a paycheck, so many women are feeling a strong need to have what they do for a career matter to the rest of the community. To make an impact.
This is our challenge: how do we look at our job or our career field in the very broadest sense and how do we fit in the greater picture of our city, our country or our world? If our job or our industry no longer existed, how would that look for our communities?
Looking at the big picture
A few years into my career, I started thinking of the larger impact of commercial real estate. I realized that what I was helping to facilitate was more than just “selling property.” I was an integral part of the growth of the community. “Once we get this space leased or sold, how many people are going to have jobs? Six? Sixty? Six hundred?” This concept doesn’t just apply to the company that might move in. It also applies to the professionals and construction vendors who enable the sale or lease process. Once I began thinking in terms of what I was doing as facilitating jobs creation, it meant so much more to me.
The Importance of Local
For those struggling with seeing that big picture, I recommend looking close to home for answers. Local business groups and civic groups provide that nexus between our work lives and what matters in a city. We all have online groups. Some of us belong to national associations. These things are important, and we can certainly improve our industry by joining those. But it’s the local groups– the Chamber of Commerce, the business networking group, the Inspire community, the Rotary Club, the business person’s meet-up at church–where we make real life friends, learn about the needs in our community and how we or our company can help in that role.
Sometimes realizing our impact requires us to hold steady in our career path. People stay with careers for a shorter duration than they used to. That is for good reason and I don’t advocate staying in a job you don’t like. However, there is a lot that is lost if there is no institutional knowledge in a company or industry. I’ve worked for more than one company, but always in the same profession. So, I have the gift of a look-back period. Commercial Realtors who have invested time in their careers and relationships have served on our planning commission, city council, and school board and sat on our economic development and business boards. If you are changing careers constantly, you never get the long view, and you miss out on the gratification.
One of the biggest challenges I see for many people regardless of industry is how they embrace technology. Most every industry and most every job is at least a somewhat impacted by changes in technology, and many are impacted profoundly. Certainly our political and personal lives have experienced seismic change because of technology. The key to success in the future is to learn how to employ technology effectively, but make sure to recognize when that technology dehumanizes our efforts.
Finding your purpose takes time and introspection. Conversations with like-minded people can help you discover this, both in your industry and in the community in general. Know also, that your purpose can be multi-leveled, helping in ways that are farther reaching than just our industries.
I look forward to continue to help the business community of Lincoln and do my part to let other workers know that they are valued and that the job they do, matters.