3 Lessons from Pope Francis On How To Find Meaningful Work

BY Crystal Marsh
Originally published in the Huffington Post.

Navigating a job search is tough enough as it is. But when you're not exactly sure what kind of work you're meant to be doing, it can feel nearly impossible.

But, what if that inner struggle were completely eliminated? What if you felt so certain of the work you were seeking out that you actually felt a higher power had called you to do it? That's likely just how Pope Francis felt when he made the decision to dedicate his life to the church. He has since become the most beloved pope in decades - admired for his humility, warmth and progressive views.

Pope Francis didn't decide to become pope because it would look good on his resume, or for monetary gain. He did so because he felt called to the work that is required of being pope - from helping the less fortunate to working to shape a better future for our world.

A calling happens when you find work that you are compelled to do, regardless of the compensation or accolades it comes with. The primary reward is the work itself. Historically, the term "calling" has been most used when referring to someone who is called to do religious service. Regardless of the area of work, there are lessons that can be applied to your job search that draw from being "called."

As a career coach, my millennial clients are constantly faced with the desire to be a part of something greater. They reach a certain point in their careers where they're earning good money and finally have stability. But ultimately, they're not satisfied with the work they are doing, because they feel that it lacks purpose.

So, how can you go about finding a job that fulfills you? Here are a few cues that millenials can take from Pope Francis when it comes to being called.

1. Seek out a job that is serving people in some way.

Although most of us don't have intentions that are as pure and noble as the pope, at our core, most people desire to serve. When you're researching potential job roles, take a look at the company's mission statement. If the role is at a PR agency, are they serving clients that offer help to others? If you're an editor, are your pieces working to aid a community of people who need the information you're publishing in order to better themselves in some way?

One of my clients made a shift from working at a fashion company that was serving a target demographic of rich businessmen, to a fashion company that had a social mission built into its corporate mission from day one. Even though she was doing similar work at her new company, the company's contribution made her feel that her work was making a difference to others in a small way.

2. Ask yourself, what am I needed for?

Pope Francis saw work that needed to be done, and felt a calling to do it. Take a look at the work you're being asked to do in your daily life. Sure, there are likely some mundane tasks that are given to you, but make it your business to get to the bottom of why you're asked to do them. Why does your boss give you that spreadsheet to reorganize instead of your coworker? Is it because you have an eye for organization? If so, how can you apply your knack for reorganizing into work that is meaningful for you?

Ask yourself how your talents can be of service to other people. You don't have to end world hunger in order to be of service to the world and others. Whatever your gifts are, that is what you should give. Find a role that allows you to do so.

3. Find work that aligns with your beliefs and values.

Pope Francis believes that there are ways to improve the lives of the less fortunate around the world, so he's made it his mission to do so. If you're out of alignment with who you are at your core, it's going to be difficult to enjoy your work and impossible to feel fulfilled.

Get clear on what your values are and make sure that the actions you're taking in your life are reflecting that. Start just by thinking about what you value - you can even write a list. Measure that list against how you're actually living your life. Is the work that you're doing in line with your values? Does your work life balance allow you to spend time on the things that matter to you? If not, you can see that a shift needs to be made.

Don't be afraid to seek out more meaningful work, especially if your job is no longer fulfilling you. Think of where we'd be if Pope Francis had ignored his calling to serve our world. Listen to the voice inside you that's urging you to make a change.