by Mark Guterman and Dan King
When will it be over? The robo-calls, the ads, the debates, the points and counterpoints. We’re weary from all the positing, posturing and preaching. The presidential race has been run … but apparently it ain’t over ’til the fat lady in Ohio votes.
With the arrival (and pending departure) of election day, we encourage you to exercise your right to get out and vote. We could make an endorsement, but we won’t. We’re not here to sermonize. We’d prefer to present our MeaningGuys platform, a simple 5-point plan for MeaningCare, our prescription for your career happiness and well-being.
Point 1 The Individual Mandate: Reflecting a true libertarian spirit, our platform begins with the practice of taking full responsibility for your worklife. Whether the job market is thriving or in the tank, whether you are fully engaged or demotivated at work, you need to hold yourself accountable. Meaningful work comes about through the choices you make and the continuous exercising of your power to choose how to spend your working hours.
Point 2 Preventive Care: Career management is not simply about getting a job, working hard, and scrambling around when the next crisis hits. It requires continual monitoring and planning for contingencies along the way. Most of us know what we need to do. We just don’t do it. The daily urgencies of work and life usually trump planning for a meaningful future. We can inoculate ourselves from career damage by thinking and planning ahead and not letting the here-and-now overpower our sense of meaningful work.
Point 3 Daily Prescriptions: MeaningCare is ongoing process, not a one-time project on your to-do list. It calls for a daily dose of career consciousness to align your values, strengths and interests to the evolving world-of-work. You need clarity about what most energizes you over time and the conditions under which you are the most motivated and likely to give your best efforts. Put career actions into your calendar regularly if you want to maintain a healthy worklife.
Point 4 Pre-Existing Conditions: For better and worse, we are all products of our past. Our early career choices are strongly influenced by our parents, teachers and friends. We often just follow the paths that others have laid for us. But this is not your father’s or mother’s work life — it’s yours. Free yourself from the crippling effects of approval from others. It is far more useful in the quest for meaningful work to recognize that each of us is the co-creator of our own future.
Point 5 Universal Coverage: MeaningCare rests in the belief that everyone can achieve a meaningful worklife, from the janitor to the VP. It doesn’t happen alone, but comes about through a web of relationships acquired and nurtured over time. Few of us can succeed on skills alone; we need a community of others, whether to ensure support when times are tough or to provide introductions, opportunities and contacts even when things are going well. This continuous building and maintenance of relationships opens doors to a meaningful future.
Our democracy is built on our freedom to choose our leaders — and the choices we make will have effects well beyond the election. Likewise, our careers are built on the freedom to choose how we expend our time — and our choices will impact us long after this election (and the many after that).
So, go out and exercise your vote — and know that whoever wins, your career and life will go on. Make it meaningful.