Are you working merely for the next paycheck, or is there some deeper meaning to your career? These tips can help determine whether you're on the career path best suited to you.

Share story

For most job seekers, each day is full of details. New leads must be investigated, resumes and cover letters must be personalized, networking events must be planned. It’s easy to get lost in all the scheduling and minutiae before asking, “What is the purpose of all of this?”

The easy answer may be, “To avoid bankruptcy court.” But finding out the more difficult answer — the honest response that only you can determine – may help reduce the number of times you must be a job seeker.

In his latest book, “Marketing Your Value: 9 Steps to Navigate Your Career,” recruiting expert Michael Edmondson, associate vice president for career development at Augustana College in Illinois, said finding an overall purpose in one’s career has been overlooked by far too many people. “Instead of asking the question ‘What do I want to do with the rest of my life?’ you should ask yourself ‘Why am I doing the work that I am doing?’” he wrote. “Would you like to have a career where the ‘why’ matters more than just a paycheck?”

An early section of the book is devoted to “Purpose Audits” for job seekers to complete for themselves. Here are a few questions Edmondson recommends that workers answer before sending out their next batch of resumes. The responses may provide insight about whether you’re on the right career path.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

How often do you practice being present? Are you actively engaged in daily tasks at your current job, or are you dwelling too much on the past or worrying about the future?

Are you able to manage fear? “All too often, people choose not to follow a career path because of the fear of the unknown.” He wrote, “Once you learn how to manage fear, you can more easily navigate your career and work with purpose instead of just having a job you dislike.”

Do you celebrate small milestones? Navigating your career with intention, he said, “means recognizing that progress will indeed be small on most days.” Can you complete a series of small tasks each day, or do you get overwhelmed with the larger issues in life?

Do you believe anything is possible? Everyone encounters career obstacles, Edmondson wrote. But those with purpose know they can always be overcome. “They stay determined and figure out a way to address each situation,” he wrote. “How often do you find yourself creating options for your life?”

Food for thought as we head into a springtime of hope and renewal.

Randy Woods is a writer and editor in the Puget Sound business publishing arena and a veteran of the local job-search scene. Email him at randywoods67@gmail.com.