To have a meaningful life, you need to have a meaningful purpose, a mission and an environment where you can fulfill your mission. That means you need a mission that is good, doable and needed.
My career as a musician from age 14 to 31 allowed me to work my way through school and it was just a fun way to earn money. After I graduated, I worked as a musician on weekends to earn enough to let my wife stay home with the kids. Being a musician had nothing to do with my “career” plans but it offered a fun balance to the energy I invested in my early Personnel jobs
My primary career from age 21 to present has been personnel work leading to become a corporate personnel director and later as consultant to 45 mostly electronics manufacturing companies in the Atlanta area.
If your work isn’t fun, then you’re in the wrong job. The human body is self-healing and adaptive and so is your brain that provides the engine to power your life. Just as you pull your hand back from a fire, you need to pull your life back from the danger of being in the wrong job or the wrong place or the wrong team.
My mission was to be a positive change agent. I identified obvious needs and filled them. I wanted to do this in an organization that had an obvious purpose that fulfilled specific valid needs.
I concluded that manufacturing was at the top of the “food chain” and pursued a management career. I never considered doing anything else.
I knew that most companies would run their course and either fail or succeed in continuing to sell products that continued to be in demand. I turned down lots of jobs and left jobs after I had accomplished what I came there to do.
I never took a job unless it offered the opportunity to accomplish things. I was totally accomplishment oriented and curious to learn how everything worked.
I looked at each job to determine what they needed and if I got excited about the job, the team and the place, I took it. I followed my own interests. I wanted to do certain things in a certain order. I wanted to improve the operations and install solid structures, processes and practices in these organizations.
I was “hands-on” and wrote my own medical plans, responded to discrimination complaints, read the laws and wrote my own policies and documents and used lawyers sparingly. I did everything that looked complicated or tricky myself and set up the process. I didn’t delegate these tasks until I had the process tight. I selected tests to give employees and ensured that they had their copy of the results.
I was an “impact” player. I focused on processes to find waste and eliminated it. I chased unions out of companies and prevented them from entering companies. I tightened up the personnel functions, created or enhanced positive corporate cultures. I pushed to give production and engineering the right tools. I handled regulatory compliance. I worked on acquisitions and established foreign subsidiaries. I founded personnel organizations to get necessary data and didn’t stay in my room. I served as a national officer for ASPA (SHRM) and served on the board of the American Electronics Association. I opened my own private consulting practice in 1993.
You don’t have to be like me. I shared these specifics to give you a blueprint to identify your own mission. If you can identify your skills, interests, motivated abilities and aspirations, you can map out what you have done so far and map out what you want to do next. Successful people do what they love and turn work into fun.
Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader