How to find a purpose in your career?

Meet Carolina Custoias, International Psychologist, Coach and Career Consultant and read our honest conversation about finding purpose in your career. Carolina and I worked together at Microsoft back in 2016 when we were both Recruiters.

1. Tell me more about your story, background

I am originally from Brazil, and in 2014, I decided to have an experience abroad. I went to Ireland with the primary objective of learning English and returning home. Still, I ended up staying for over six years. During those years, I was able to build my international career, live my hobbies, travels, dancing events, and eventually, in 2018, was also able to make my career transition.

In regards to my background, I am a Psychologist and Coach Certified. I worked for more than 13 years in Recruitment and Learning and Development, and in 2018 I started making a fundamental change in my career to live a life with more purpose.

2. What does that mean to you finding purpose in your career?

I believe purpose is something we can create in any environment where we are as long as this environment is aligned to our core values. That’s why finding purpose in our life or career it’s very much connected to who we are.  You need to be at peace with yourself at where you are. Once we know who we are, it’s easier to create purpose in any environment.  Speaking more in terms of purpose in your career, the company usually has its own values. What’s important is to find out if that’s the company is good for us. Lots of us don’t think about that. You need to connect yourself to the company’s purpose if it matches your values and goals as a person.

But if you want to build this purpose and don’t know how to start, that can be a challenge. There are many things that no one teaches us, for example, that we are free to choose whatever way we want and we can be successful anywhere we choose to be.

We are taught that we need to pursue certain things, roles, and careers to be successful. We start to believe in a success that is sold to us, not the success we want and feel makes absolute sense.

3. You went through a career change yourself. When was your sliding door moment?

I always thought that purpose was equal to success, and success was similar to living abroad and working for a multinational company I pursued and conquered. From 2014 to 2018, I worked hard to keep my dream until I realised that I was not happy living that success or that type of life. I had to review my entire life and choices made in the last few years to change the direction.

I cannot say that I did not have a purpose in my career before I made my career transition; it would not be fair to say that I was without goal working with Recruitment and L&D for over 13 years. I had a connection to this field. I would always love to help people get a job in a company I would be working for.

But the fact is that I would always find some limitations in terms of my delivery while working in big corporations. I would always give my best but never finding or feeling it my best. I would burn out having that feeling of not being enough. This sign that what I was doing was great but not what my soul wanted to do.

The sliding door was when I felt drained with my role, and I did not feel like continuing that path anymore. I decided to try different ways to my career. It was a long process of reflection; I tried to move from one company to the other in the same role but still felt drained, then tried different positions and companies. One essential thing when you are considering changing a career is to honour your previous experience. Through my previous experience, I could find out and understand how important it is to work with people.  It was a clue! I kept asking myself how I could do more of this? We need to allow the experience and understand that every experience signifies understanding what we really want. It’s not easy to know what we want; it takes time, maturity, reflection.

We shouldn’t be afraid to take steps and learn from them.

4. How to find a purpose in your career?

Knowing yourself better is the best way to find purpose in life and a career.

We think that a career is a part separated from life, but in fact, a career is part of our life. It is easier to find purpose when your job is integrated into who you are, what you believe, what you do well and what you want to deliver to the world or society.

And sometimes, we will need to dive into ourselves and the options that life is given to us at that moment, or we will need to ask for help, such as mentors, coaches, psychologists. It’s a sort of investment in yourself. There is nothing more important than yourself in your life.