Want a Meaningful Job? Take Ownership of Your Own Career

By Marla Gottschalk & Chip Joyce

You Own it

Fulfilling careers are certainly built on opportunity. However, if you want a meaningful job, you must play an active role in identifying the moments that give your work meaning. We believe that taking hold of your own path — and not letting go — is critical to achieving lasting career satisfaction.

Of course, we all desire jobs where career progress is evident. However, early roles may not align perfectly with this goal. Instead of focusing on what is absent in your job, take the opportunity to build your career infrastructure As you move forward, this philosophy can help you in many ways and will help you maximize options that otherwise would have been left on the table.

Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Exercise patience. At the start of your career, observe and note the career paths of others that you would like to emulate. Note the steps, training and the needed experience involved. If possible, discuss their journey, as obstacles they have endured may not be obvious. You'll find these real world examples offer a balanced perspective of career progress.

  • Know your strengths — but don’t limit yourself. It is important to know that you are ever-changing and need to be aware of where and when you excel. With time, you will discover elements about your own capabilities that are entirely unexpected. So — treat your career as a new and exciting start-up. This can lead to fantastic, novel opportunities.

  • Become your own advocate. Speaking up concerning your career is a necessity. No one can read your mind concerning your work and goals. Commit to beginning a conversation with your supervisor about what you desire to accomplish, and what you offer in return.

  • Assemble your own "Board of Directors". We all need a team to help us along career-wise. Choose 4 or 5 individuals that can serve as consultants in regard to work matters. They shouldn't necessarily live at your current organization. In this way, they move with along with you as you progress and grow.


Marla Gottschalk, Ph.D. is a LinkedIn Influencer and serves as Senior Consultant at Allied Talent. Chip Joyce is CEO and Co-Founder of Allied Talent, bringing The Alliance Framework to organizations world-wide.

Chip Joyce is the CEO & Co-Founder of Allied Talent. With two decades of international management and consulting experience, Chip specializes in helping organizations make significant cultural changes. Chip has worked with global banks and financial services companies, Big 4 professional firms, as well as leading pharmaceutical, biotech, insurance, and technology companies. He has guest lectured for Columbia University’s MBA and executive MBA programs and is an experienced corporate speaker.


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