A Sense of Purpose

In this post-corporate phase of my life, I have more time and opportunity to observe people closely and I see more people with a clear sense of purpose than I ever noticed when I was working in the fast lane of corporate affairs.

In retrospect, it seems as if I and my contemporaries were so busy meeting deadlines and generating reports that life goals and a sense of purpose were luxuries that we constantly pushed off to some undefined future moment. Paying bills and making mortgage payments occupied so much of our off-duty waking hours that we never seemed to deal with the bigger issues of life.

It seemed like we went from the near-poverty of a student’s life, to overnight wealth as a valued corporate employee, and eventually to over-extended life as a highly-paid manager living from paycheck to paycheck.

Our purposes seemed to be confined to getting a product launched or getting a new release out and the satisfaction was exceedingly transient. In too many cases, the end of a project came to mean layoffs or reassignment. There was little that offered long term satisfaction.

Post-corporate life as a micro-business owner is entrepreneurship in its purest form. Whether we choose to become an artisan, a free-lance photographer, or operate a pool cleaning service, we are making choices every day that have lasting effects on our future.

There is a constant balancing of long range goals and short term needs to pay the rent, but the choices are ours to make and each decision opens the door to a different future.

We stop judging projects by corporate standards and look first at the effects that our projects will have on others and on our own lives. I see this in so many of the businesses that are being developed in Floyd by people with long experience in commercial enterprises in the major cities of the US.

They put a worthwhile purpose first and try to make money following that purpose, instead of doing whatever it takes to make money and hoping that this doesn’t lead them into a moral dilemma.

From what I see, their purposes tend to be more aligned with personal and family growth instead of meeting an abstract corporate goal like greater market share at any cost.

Has anyone else noticed this?

By the way, I know of many bloggers who are corporate employees and they seem determined to hold a course toward a higher purpose, but their efforts are dependent on their continued employment and the vagaries of upper management decisions. Becoming a cog in a corporate system means you pay more than lip service to corporate goals. If the company sells products that slowly poison customers, it doesn’t matter how nice you are, you are part of the activity and will eventually bear the consequences. If the company is ethical and helps the environment, you are in a better place.

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