As I sit at the beach with my laptop connecting with friends around the world helping them to find purpose and meaning in their professional lives, I’m wondering if I can help you find your career passion as well by sharing my story.
Looking for the perfect job that would give me personal fulfillment, some years ago I joined a non-profit agency that provides medicines to doctors who volunteer their skills around the world. I was in charge of dispensing and signing off on pharmaceutical orders. One afternoon someone from the warehouse called to let me know that a box of anesthesia contained some unlabeled bottles. I was alarmed and I would not allow their release until I went to see for myself.
Indeed, about a dozen of the containers were missing labels. I alerted my boss, who dismissed my concern and told me to proceed with the shipment. I refused to put my signature on the release form and told her it would be dangerous to do so. How would any doctor know how much to administer and exactly what the contents of the bottles were? I expressed my alarm that people could get hurt or even worse. She put pressure on me to release the shipment and “be a team player.” Under those circumstances, I could not. I wanted to vent my anger over her lack of understanding about the potential ramifications. I emailed the head of the program sharing my concern for people’s safety, copied the Board of Directors and pointed out that this could jeopardize the organization’s integrity and good name. I also requested to be released from this project and asked to be reassigned to another one.
The next morning when I arrived, to my dismay, a policeman who told me I had five minutes to clear my desk greeted me at the door. He escorted me up the elevator and stood about a foot behind me while I gathered my personal belongings. I was shocked and speechless. My heart was pounding and my knees were buckling. I asked him what I had done wrong. He didn’t answer me. Instead he guided me out the door with his hand on my shoulder. I felt like a criminal. The office staff saw everything but did nothing to help.
As I walked into the elevator and turned around, I spotted a board member and called out to him for help. My plea fell on deaf ears. All he said as the doors closed is, “You don’t belong here. You don’t fit in.” Little did I know that with those words he planted seeds within me that one day would help me to find a passion filled career.
When I was forced to consider what my perfect job looks like, my life began to change and my career path began taking shape. Today, I live to help other professionals find fulfillment in their careers. Have you ever experienced injustice at work? Has your voice ever gone unheard? Are your contributions valued? Are your concerns addressed? How can you know if you’re on the right career path? Here are ten indicators to look for:
- Your responsibilities don’t require you to compromise your values
- You have a sense of fulfillment
- You have the freedom to do the things you love like travel, fitness and spending more time with loved ones
- You’re not trading time for money
- You wake up looking forward to the day ahead
- You can see yourself doing this indefinitely
- Your job brings out the best in you
- Your work environment supports your vision
- You’re surrounded and supported by like-minded individuals
- You’re receiving the compensation you desire
If you come up short and wondering if there is something bigger, better and more rewarding, the answer is yes. I’m living proof that there is. I’m not special. I didn’t have any special advantages, quite to the contrary. I tried several things before I found my dream career. I took action and learned from the masters. If you're interested in learning how, continue on this link. I wish you success in all your endeavors! Look here for my weekly postings.
Roxana Bowgen Partner DEA/SFM,
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