This time of year I get many calls from parents that want me to speak with their children who’ve recently graduated about their careers. What I always ask first – now – is if their new grad is having difficulty choosing a path or finding a job.  In other words, do they need to find their purpose or get their foot in the door?

The later I can do in spades and quickly, because finding a job is easy if you know what you want to do.  But the first – choosing a path/ deciding on your ‘purpose’ is not tactical, it’s personal and requires ‘work’ and introspection…

Finding purpose is not something most people are good at, because frankly it’s not something which that can be taught like math or chemistry from a book.  So I avoid the ‘finding your purpose’ conversations.

My personal answer to my children, who like most are struggling with ‘finding their purpose’ – has always been, “try out things that interest you.  You don’t have to know what you want to do for the rest of your life – today – or tomorrow for that matter.’

By my way of thinking, today’s world is full of opportunities my generations didn’t have, that it’s almost a shame to make a commitment to just ‘one purpose’, to use just one skill set, to one path.   Committing without first understanding the possibilities open to you… is wasteful in my mind.  So try things out.  See what feels comfortable or correct for you.  Don’t be shy to change your mind.  It is no longer a ‘sin’ to have many different jobs: to stay less than a lifetime with an employer, as it was when I graduated decades ago.

All this to say, I found this Harvard Business Review article this morning, which may be of interest and help to those looking to step out into the world, and not quite sure where to start: You Don’t Find Your Purpose — You Build It  

Please remember that life is already too short so don’t sweat the ‘small stuff’.  In the grand scheme of things what you do for a living is NOT important – a job does not define you.  Who you and how you live are all that matter.