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Working Meaningfully - Pivoting Your Career with purpose

How the working from home revolution triggered a new meaningful career path for scores of people. One of the most profound changes to emerge from the pandemic was the dawn of remote working. Millions of people across the UK started working from home for the first time. Many started to make changes as their home space became intertwined with their work lives. As these new adjustments started to happen little did we know that it would trigger the start of discovering new career paths for many.

Katie Redfern, Career Coach and Founder of Meaningful Recruitment shares how large numbers of her clients made the brave decision to put a new spring in their career step and shares some tips for our readers to consider from her new book ‘Working Meaningfully : Your fast-track guide to a career that lights you up’. Katie said that ‘the pandemic started a wave of career change and many clients needed our coaching and services to help them reassess their career goals and achieve their aspirations. The top reason for seeking help was because they were looking for a deeper meaning in their work life’. In 2021, three fifths of UK workers (60%) intended to make changes to their careers as a result of the Covid outbreak which was an increase of 7% on the previous year. Katie reports that clients are still feeling the ripple effects in 2022 with circa one in five people (40% of the UK’s population) who are planning to look for a new job. Is working from home still here to stay? Working from home for part or all of the week has now become the norm for some employees, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Management (CMI). Over 80% of Managers said their firms have adopted hybrid working since the pandemic.

The dissipation of restrictions and the new strategy for living with COVID could see a drive to maintain this new Hybrid way of working which seems to be a staple of the new norm. Some employees thrive in these situations while some don’t with some workers reporting that ‘hybrid working is draining and more emotionally taxing than fully remote arrangements’ (quote from Tinypulse the employee engagement platform). Katie agrees with the CMI who suggest that “not everyone should work from home 100% of the time, we're saying the best practice is to have a blend, so when you come into the office you can do those things that are very difficult to do remotely." A blend is good. It’s all about balance.

The next step, Katie suggests, is to ask yourself ‘Am I working meaningfully?’ What does that mean? It means working in a job or finding a career that’s meaningful to you, that fills you up and lights a fire in your belly. It’s about having a career you don’t have to escape from and a personal and professional life that feels true to who you are and what you value. While this might all sound a bit difficult after a bit of self-reflection it’s not quite as daunting as it may initially seem. You can have a meaningful career and you can feel fulfilled in your work.

Here are 3 tips to help you:-

1. Identify what’s meaningful to you When it comes to our careers, it’s very easy to find ourselves striving towards someone else’s definition of success. Maybe upon hearing the word success you picture a smart car, a senior title, an expensive suit or a huge house. Maybe it’s some other variation of perfect. But when you stop and take time to think about what it is that you want out of your life, does it really fit that definition?

It can be easy to compare ourselves to others. But it’s pointless. You will never feel fulfilled by going after what’s meaningful to someone else. You have to find meaning for yourself. You can do this in a few different ways. I would recommend collating a list of your values. You can look these up online for some ideas but it’s important you only write down things that resonate with you. Narrow the list down to your core values. Then write down a list of your skills and talents. Put these lists side by side and ask yourself how can I combine these things to contribute to the world? We all have something to contribute. Don’t be held back by feeling like you have to change the world. That’s not what this is about. It’s about what we each have to offer - our unique skills, talents and passions.

2. Learn to work with your inner critic. Research tells us that 80% of our thoughts are negative and 95% of our thoughts are repetitive. We all have that horrible inner voice that shouts ‘no you can’t!’ Don’t listen to that voice and let it win. When I’m working with clients, I often hear common fallacies like I’m too old, I’m unemployable, I’ve been on a long career break and my skills aren’t relevant, I won’t ever be as good again, the industry has moved on or I’m not up to speed with the markets. The search for meaning will always bring with it fear as things will change so we need to be as robust as possible and work with our negative thoughts and doubts actively. How do we do this? Ask yourself where that inner critic comes from. If you dig deep enough you usually start to recognise the voice. To begin to work against it, start by acknowledging the negative thoughts. See if you can learn to catch yourself without judgement..’Hmm.. That was a negative thought.’ Note the thought and see if there are any patterns like some of the fallacies I mentioned above. Write them down if you can. At the end of the day look at the things on the page and try to flip the narrative. Ask yourself if they are really true? What evidence do you have that proves otherwise? Trust me, you will have it.

3. Embrace change. As you start to get greater clarity on what’s meaningful for you and how this might translate into a career change or career tweak, your inner critic is likely to get louder. It’s important that during this phase you work towards embracing change and fighting that critical anxious voice inside your head. List your fears as they pop up. They may come in the form of annoying ‘what ifs?’ Maybe even share them with someone. It’s remarkable how saying your fears out loud or seeing them written down takes away its power. Practice being mindful and present. At a macro level assure yourself that you are safe in this moment and find something to be grateful for in the present. Think about what you can achieve today. Understand that what you achieve today is the main thing you have control of. Big changes can be made by taking regular tiny steps and leaps of faith. It might seem difficult to get started on a new career adventure but then once you make the mental decision that things need to change it suddenly feels easier and easier to keep things moving in the right direction. Small steps lead to big steps and you’ll soon be asking yourself why you didn’t do this months ago.

Katie Redfern is the founder of Meaningful Recruitment and author of Working Meaningfully – Your fast-track guide to a career that lights you up. She’s a highly experienced career adviser, recruitment consultant, professional coach and CV Writer. With over 20 years of experience in these fields she has helped many clients transition to a happier place in their work life using her wealth of knowledge including her professional coaching qualifications and degree in Social Psychology. Katie is well known for boosting her client’s confidence by providing them with the tools and resources they need to help them during their career journey. She also has a vast network of organisations that she works with who are striving to make a positive social impact in our world including many B Corporations. For more information and to contact Katie directly go to

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1 Comment

Lester Lowe
Lester Lowe
Jan 23, 2023

Thanks for the interesting article. Our company is constantly improving the software to facilitate the work of the personnel department.

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