After working at Fortune 500 companies and at the EU institutions, you’ve decided to reinvent yourself to do meaningful work for others. What does meaningful work mean to you? Why is it important to do meaningful work in general?
I love this question because it summarises well my professional journey of working in six different jobs in the US and in Europe before embarking on my entrepreneurship pathway. Along those experiences, I was trying to define meaningful work for myself and find a career that would best reflect that.
From an early age, I was drawn into projects and initiatives which were promising improvements and positive change for people. This desire brought me to work at the United Nations for the Least Developed Countries, the work which I continued later at the European Commission in Brussels.
As I was always fascinated about implementing practical solutions, learning business skills, and working in a dynamic environment, I left my work at the European Parliament later to work within pharmaceutical sector. I was climbing “the corporate ladder” in my top performing jobs, where on the outside I was very successful but on the inside, something just didn’t feel right.
On a day-to-day basis when your work is filled with endless meetings, discussions, and emails - it’s easy to lose a sight from how does it translate into real outcomes and serving others. I realized that I was disconnected from my values and I needed to change.
For me, a meaningful work makes you wake up with a smile. It gives you joy, energy, and satisfaction. Thankfully, I now jump out of bed with enthusiasm and I feel lucky as a talent coach to support ambitious professionals on their journey to finding a meaningful work for them, developing practical skills, and designing the lifestyle they truly want to have.
We know from researches that 80% of people are unhappy in their jobs. What do you think the main reason is why so many people stay at a job they don't like?
When I first learnt about those studies from Gallup, I was horrified, because we tend to spend more and more hours at work and if we’re unhappy, we most likely bring this stress and frustration back home. That’s why, I think now more than ever it’s important to do work that makes you feel alive.
When it comes to reasons for such situation: Firstly, I believe we don’t take enough time to understand what interests us, what are we good at and what’s important to us and then choose careers accordingly. Unfortunately schools, education, and society at large doesn’t put enough emphasis on such self-education. Secondly, confusion and fear about changing and making your next step are natural, but you shouldn’t allow those feelings to dominate your life.
What would you suggest to Millennial Women that are unhappy in their jobs, or unsure if that's the right career path for them? What's the first step to find a meaningful job?
Unhappiness is a valuable clue. By knowing what you don’t like, it’s easier to find something which you’ll do. So I would encourage Millennial Women to look at their situation from this resourceful perspective and then as per taking the first step to finding a meaningful job, I would encourage you to take some quality time for yourself and ask yourself these 3 questions:
Then give yourself a permission to follow your curiosity and experiment by seeking voluntary opportunities, engaging in side projects, taking courses, going to seminars, or hiring a coach. It’s not something you can find answers to in your mind. Your clarity and confidence about your right career path are waiting to be explored through engagement.
+Your life motto?
Live your Talent, Make a Difference! Be authentic and grow your natural abilities to help others and make the world a better place!
Lena is the Founder and Talent Coach of Lena Bera, who helps high-achieving professionals and entrepreneurs master their mindset for success and well-being. She shares practical strategies and tools for personal and career development in her weekly Blog that reaches engaged readers in 80 countries.