48% of baby boomers, 38% of Gen Xers and 30% of millennials prioritize pay over purpose and titles according to a survey done of over 26k LinkedIn members by LinkedIn and Imperative.
Initially, I was surprised to hear millennials are the least likely to be guided by a sense of purpose and something greater than them. As an “aging millennial” (it’s a disgusting term, but I’ve decided to embrace the wisdom in me lol) I am solely governed by a sense of purpose. I have turned down contracts because it was not meaningful work for me.
I define meaningful work as follows:
- It addresses a systemic issue. and/or
- It causes people (you included) to live whole, engaged lives within their communities. and/or
- It pays you. and/or
If you are moved by tangible change, making the world a better place and adding value to people’s lives, you chose a day job (and maybe a night one) that moves you. The issue is and the singular problem with living one’s purpose is if you don’t make money doing it, you will either be bitter towards it/yourself so avoid tying it to money or you will try to make money doing it and walk away from it if it does not meet Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need.
If you are feeling the tinge of regret for not living your purpose through your work, do it now. Identify the contract, test your products, build the website to get the ball rolling.
If you are feeling resent towards what you always loved, take a moment to be sad, angry and thoughtful about all the love you’ve poured into making the world a better place in your own way and why it has not worked out the way you planned. It sucks and sometimes it sucks because it didn’t pay you or people didn’t appreciate you.
And you know what, wisdom shows the baby boomers that life is more than money and I can focus on something greater than me. It shows Gen Xers that I have to balance my practical nature with a need to be a part of the solutions for social justice which if you look close is happening, no matter what TV tells you. If you are a millennial, your practical (perhaps cynical side) needs to pay student loans and perhaps grappling with what “purpose” looks like and how that fits in with what life looks like now.
We have some purpose events coming up in 2019 that addresses how to live your purpose and get paid. It is not always an easy road for some, but after 15 years of living mine, I can say there is no other road I would rather be on than the one that represents a shift in cultural norms, progress for all and hard conversations that are happening. Our agency here gets to manage those dialogues and help naysayers and cheerleaders alike live their purpose.