How to Infuse Your Career with More Meaning, Creativity, Self-Expression & Autonomy
After a renewing, refreshing holiday vacation in Mexico, I’ve been hearing something more clearly than ever: A burning desire that my career reinvention clients and prospective career coaching clients are sharing.
My fresh ears are attuned to a deep yearning that most of them are struggling to express.
Their strong feelings come across in comments like:
- “I can’t stand another day with my micromanaging boss hovering over me. I’m an adult. I know how to get my work done.”
- “Why doesn’t my manager let me do things more creatively? She’s constantly telling me to be realistic. It’s not that I’m unrealistic. I just have innovative ideas that I’d like to bring to life. What’s so wrong with that?”
- “You know, if I could do my work the way I want to do it, I’d spend a lot less time tethered to my desk, and a lot more time out in the field with customers.”
- “It doesn’t make any sense to me, why, in this day and age, I can’t telecommute. I know I can get a lot more done in the quiet of my home. But my company still doesn’t allow it.”
What are all these well-meaning professionals craving?
More and more, I encounter professionals who are Self-Actualizers on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. These dogged determined individuals won’t tolerate simply “going through the motions” at work. They tend to care about their work more than the average employee. No degree of repetitive, purposeless work will suit them. These passionate professionals will always fan the flames of their burning need for meaning, creativity, self-expression, and autonomy in their careers.
So, here’s the problem:
Too many companies are still living in an old command-and-control mentality. Organizations tend to put structures and process in place in an attempt to control consistency. So managers’ bonuses are tied to their employees’ performance, and the managers get greedy. So they clamp down and watch and overly direct their people, instead of trusting them to flourish.
Or senior leaders want to see their people, so they insist that they work in the office.
Whether it’s maximizing profits for shareholders, or attempting to ensure fairness and consistency, organizations blindly and unintentionally stifle their employees instincts for doing good work.
So it’s no wonder that employees are craving freedom. The freedom to pursue work that feels purposeful. The freedom to take inspiration and be inspired. The freedom to speak up and to say what matters. The freedom to work in ways that work for the employee to get work done the way that suits them best.
If you’re one of these freedom-loving people, it’s vital that you do two things to ensure your career happiness:
(1) Choose an organization that understands, values, and offers you the freedom you need.
When you interview at a company, take the time to really listen to the people you’re meeting. Then, go deeper.
Pay attention to what your gut is telling you about your prospective co-workers. Do they feel like “your kind of people”? Or are you selling yourself a bill of goods about how you “should” like the company?
As you get closer and closer to being offered a role you’d really like at a company that you sense will give you enough of the freedom you seek, consider asking your future colleagues questions to sense the real fit. Ask questions like:
- What’s the most meaningful project you’ve worked on in the last six months?
- How have you expressed your creativity this week in your role
- How important is the freedom of self-expression at work, and how has that played out in your tenure here?
- How much autonomy do you sense you have in your career, and how does that compare to other places where you’ve worked?
(2) Constantly crafting your career so it truly fits you.
Company cultures change. Favorite managers move on. Reorganizations shift you into new roles. In other words, life is constantly shifting.
That means you need to reassess your role regularly. I suggest you take stock of the activities, people, and circumstances that drains your life energy, and do less of those. And get more projects, co-workers and clients, and situations that feel you gain energy when you do them.
It’s up to you to creatively mix the elements you desire from work to feel the freedom you need in a role. Keep paying attention to your energy gains and your energy drains, and make adjustments and tweaks on a regular basis. You’ll be happy to have taken personal control of your career satisfaction.
Want even more ways to take control of your career satisfaction?
If having the freedom to work the way you want to is important to you, I invite you to join “Energized + Engaged at Work,” my complimentary 14-day online career transformation program.
Energized + Engaged at Work is a free a 14-day online experience that guides you through a proven process for clarifying what you truly desire from your career, by accessing to your innate power.
In the Energized + Engaged at Work experience, you will…
- Imagine, envision, and create a working life that energizes and engages you
- Connect the dots between what you really want and the inspired step-by-step actions that will lead you to fulfillment
- Focus your attention on how you want to feel at work, and tap into an endless source of personal power
- Take the journey from frustrated to fulfilled in your career
- Discover how tap into your innate power to stay positive and confident at work
Register by Sunday, January 17th at 5 pm Pacific. Your career transformational experience launches Monday, January 18th, and runs through Sunday, January 31.
Get all the details here on Energized + Engaged at Work here. I’d love to meet you, virtually, in this 14-day career boosting experience!