To do so, you need to be purposeful about your job.
Here’s an easy exercise for figuring out the purpose statement of your current or next job.
1) List Your Expectations (Wants, Needs & Fears)
Write down all the expectations you have about job (I’m going to use the example of finding a new job in this article) — by “expectations,” I’m talking about the wants, needs and fears related to your next job.
For example, you might have the following expectations:
I want to be able to work from home one day a week.
I want to work in a neighborhood in San Francisco that has a lot of cafes and restaurants.
I want a job in the social gaming market.
I need to work for a boss who inspires me.
I need at least $150,000 per year in income.
I fear that my skills aren’t up to par to get a $150K a year job.
I fear that leaving my current job will impact the great friendships I’ve made at my current job.
Spend at least 5 to 10 minutes on this part. Super important.
I recommend you have around 7 to 10 of these job expectations — and they will probably be centered around a few topics or themes (e.g. for a job, it might be to make money, have fun, have a flexible schedule, etc.)
2) Write A “From-The-Gut” Job Purpose Statement
Now, fresh from writing out those expectations, immediately write down one long sentence that starts with:
“The purpose of my job is to …[and fill in the top few themes from your expectations above”
For example, using the wants, needs and fears I listed above, I would write my purpose statement the following way:
“The purpose of my next job is for it to be in a restaurant-friendly part of San Francisco with work-at-home flexibility, have an awesome boss and make $150K+ in pay!”
So we covered all the wants and needs here…notice how I didn’t dwell on the fears here, yet — those come in a bit.
Note: If you have many wants and needs, try grouping them together in your job purpose statement — I find that there are typically just a few important categories of things you should include in your job purpose statement (I go for 3).
3) Write “I Will” Statements For Your Job Purpose
You now return to the expectations (the wants, needs and fears) and to the right of each of them write down an “I will” statement.
The “I will” statement should be something actionable that you could do to be more purposeful about your next job.
Try to make each “I will” statement as specific, measurable, actionable and timely as you can.
Don’t worry about actually doing the action items — this isn’t a stressful to-do list — just write them down. Trust me!
Here are examples of actions you might consider next to each of the expectations:
I want to be able to work from home one day a week — I will make sure to focus on employers who will be receptive to work from home flexibility; and state this requirement to every prospective employer I talk to.
I want to work in a neighborhood in San Francisco that has a lot of cafes and restaurants — I will search Yelp to check the surrounding restaurants/cafes near any employer I’m considering and only pursue that job opportunity if I like the local eateries!
I want a job in the social gaming market — I will do two hours of research this weekend to list every social gaming employer in San Francisco!
I need to work for a boss who inspires me — I will make sure to find out who I would report to in any job opportunity I puruse.
I need at least $150,000 per year in income — I will mention my salary requirement to any employer I talk to and discard any company that won’t consider paying me $150,000 either on day 1 of my job or within 90 days.
I fear that my skills aren’t up to par to get a $150K a year job — I will learn ask my friend Ziggy to teach me HTML and WordPress blogging skills (the two skills that could put me over the top for my next job).
I fear that leaving my current job will impact the great friendships I’ve made at my current job — I will commit to having lunch or dinner (at least once a month) with my soon-to-be-former colleagues Kevin, Samantha & Lakshmi long after I’ve left my current employer.
The act of merely writing these I will statements will make you more mindful of your jpb purpose.
It’s That Easy
So, now you have a purpose statement along with some I will action items.
I sometimes print out the action items to reinforce doing them…but, again, you’re ok if you don’t do every one. Low-pressure.
The purpose statement should be simple enough to memorize — and you can refine it as you think more about it.
I promise you that if you do this exercise, you will be more purposeful on your job search.
About the Author — Rob is the Co-founder & CEO of Ongig, the video job description platform that unites candidates and employers through video, pictures, chat and more. Yelp, Autodesk, GoDaddy, Auction.com and BMC Software are among the early clients leveraging Ongig for their job descriptions.
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