Finding Purpose Outside Work | The Coronavirus Diaries

finding purpose outside work

Many Americans equate their purpose with their job. This is not ideal because if a person loses their job, he or she loses their purpose in life. This can cause dire consequences, which is why finding purpose outside work is imperative.

Why Finding Purpose Outside Work So Important?

For one, it’s to prepare for when you will lose your job. The days of working at one job or one employer until retirement has been over for a long time. I saw this play out with my mom over my lifetime. She thought she would work at a bank until retirement, but lost her job after working there for 13 years when the company moved. Then she worked for another company for 10 years before losing that job because the employer sold the division. Her next job lasted for about 13 years until layoffs got her again.

Second, if people wrap up their self-esteem or self-worth within their job or career, losing it can cause extensive mental anguish. For men, losing their job increases their suicide risk. Add in social distancing (or social isolation as some people view it), the risk of self-harm increases, as shown during this pandemic.

Finally, finding purpose outside work helps create a work/life balance. I know people who say they have hobbies outside of work, yet stay glued to work emails or the work chat program during their time off. One guy I knew stayed connected to work activities while he was on vacation. No, he wasn’t on-call during that period, and the other employees handled the duties while he was away. He couldn’t pull himself away.

Finding Purpose Outside Work: How So?

It’s easy for me thing to tell you that finding purpose outside work is important. Now I’ll explain how you can with some actions I’m implemented in my life.


A reflective looking inward an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings

I spent a great amount of time sitting / walking / driving and thinking about what I wanted out of life. And I’ve done this on and off during my adulthood. If you feel too old to start this, you’re not. I truly believe you can change your life in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, or even your 60’s. Yet, you can’t make the change unless you actually sit and think about what you want to do with your life, and what really drives you.


Having at least one hobby you enjoy can help you find purpose in life. And you don’t have to find a hobby which helps others, like volunteering. As long as you find one that adds value to your life.

How can you find your purpose from a hobby? Think about how you feel when you’re spending time working on your car or playing in a softball league. You feel energetic or calm. This allow your mind and body to relax. In addition, you become more creative. From this, many people find alternative jobs or a plan for a new business. Speaking of which….

Create A Business

Brittany, you told me to focus on something other than work. Creating a business contradicts that.

No, not necessarily. Many people create businesses to solve a problem in society. Hence, they want to make the world a better place. And some of those businesses are non-profits, because the founders don’t want to focus on making money, but on improving lives.


While we will never truly remove our purpose from our jobs, it’s best to separate as much as we can. I did so long ago after seeing what happened to my mom during my lifetime. Seeing companies moving divisions or selling out to another, causing many of their employees lose their jobs taught me there is little loyalty.

So that pushed me to find what really motivated me in life. Over time, I discovered writing and helping others through it was my purpose. Since then I’ve worked on putting my purpose into action. As a result, I’ve been more content with life and working in general.

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