The Moral Imperative To Do Work That Matters

These days, there are so many challenges in the world that it is so important that we are each using our highest talent towards tackling them. You might be stuck in a job doing work that doesn’t matter because of money, status, and/or family pressure. But simply put, if you are working in marketing cigarettes or Pepsi, I’m sorry but depending on your religious views, I might say that you are committing a sin. These types of products have been scientifically proven to do nothing good to the Earth or the people that consume them. Now, of course, I understand that there is a conundrum — people need jobs, and they may not have a huge amount of choice in what they do. But for those that have questions, I’d like to argue that it’s important to choose a career it has work that matters.

What kind of work matters? Some might think, only pioneering work is important — developing your solar panels or technologies that will change the world. But I would say, any work that helps people. That could be managing the supply chain for nutritious food, working for a telephone network company, or cleaning schools. Just not work that outright harms society — work like figuring out how to make social media networks more addictive, and how to make more people press the refresh button lever more often.

How do you find work that matters? Try sites like Idealist.org, look at listings for B Corps — companies that combine purpose with profit. These days, it’s not only non-profits that are doing good for the world.

You only have one life. And the chances of you being put on this earth are so slim. What are you here for? It’s up to you to discover, uncover, or create that — depending on how you look at things.

And doing work that matters might just make you feel happier, too. Plus, if you feel more engaged, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll have a better chance of contributing more and doing the best work that you can. You’ll be leveraging your highest gifts to make a difference in the world. And what’s better than that?

If you can’t manage to find a full-time job that has work that matters, try to see if you can find volunteer work that does. And make sure not to fall into the trap of thinking “Well, my company has a CSR (corporate social responsibility) program, so that means we are doing good” — if you’re working for a tobacco company with a CSR program, I’m sorry but that minor good really doesn’t offset the whole lot of bad you’re doing for health and the environment. Also, even if a company is a non-profit, that doesn’t automatically mean the work it is doing is good. Why not? There are some pretty evil non-profits out there, let me tell you. Anyone can incorporate a non-profit, and in many countries, they don’t have to pass some test of altruism to qualify as one. What makes an evil non-profit? In my view, non-profits that contribute a tiny fraction of their donations to the causes they are trying to ‘help’ — I’ve even read about some non-profits that only contribute 4% of donations to the people they ‘support’. And some non-profits don’t have a positive objective at all!

How do you tell if the work you’re doing is good? See if you can think about how your work might impact future generations. Check out the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) and see if your work aligns with one of the areas listed.

Looking for more ideas? Check out the book The Most Good You Can Do (https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00VQPLZX4/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1)

Be able to be happy with the work you are doing. Do work that matters.

What kind of work matters? Comment below or tweet at me: @jenniferturliuk

Written by

Entrepreneur (CEO @MakerKids). Keynote Speaker. Career Coach. Marketer. Author (published @Forbes, soon @DundurnPress). @SingularityU alum. Musical theatre fan.

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