Your Work vs. Your Job

employee motivation high performance job satisfaction purpose driven Apr 16, 2024
Jody Holland Training & Speaking | Leadership
Your Work vs. Your Job

Your job is the gateway for the work that you do, but they are not one in the same. The distinction is that your work is the purpose that you’re chasing, whereas your job is the manner in which you fulfill that work. For example, your work may be shaping future generations, and your job is teaching. Someone else may have the same work, but their job might be career planning or leadership coaching.

Whatever your work is, it has personal meaning to you. You are often passionate about your work, and that’s what motivates you to show up to your job. This intrinsic motivation is a powerful tool for your success. Whether your work is helping others, innovating systems, or something else, many career paths can account for that legacy. However, when your job and your work are not in alignment, it creates a disconnect, which can lead to dissatisfaction in that role. That’s why it’s important to find an organization and a position that allows you to pursue that deeper purpose.

Some people love their job and are really good at what they do because it fulfills their drive. Their high performance output can lead them to a promotion within the organization. While this advancement is the goal, it’s important to note that some promotions come with different responsibilities that no longer fulfill the work that motivated the individual to do well in the first place. This can cause a decrease in motivation, and subsequently performance, in that position.

That is not to say that you have to quit your job or start over somewhere else the moment your job does not encompass the work that drives you. That is a choice you can make for yourself, but you can also find new ways to incorporate your work within your new position. It may take some extra effort, but it will be worth it in the end. If there is no way that you can pursue the work that motivates you within your current position, you can also find that fulfillment in other areas of life, such as volunteer work or community involvement. Finding an outlet outside of work that you’re passionate about creates forward momentum, which helps with your motivation at work as well.

Take a moment to reflect on what your work is. What drives you? What do you want to be remembered for? Once you know exactly what your work means to you, think about how you can apply it to your job and other aspects of your life.


-Meghan Slaughter

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