‘Don’t find a job, find a mission’: Celeste Headlee

We often hear people talk about quitting their jobs. Believe it or not, many people around the world cannot imagine continuing in the same workplace for 20 or 30 years. Celeste Headlee, a broadcast journalist, explains the underlying psychology behind not liking your work, in her TEDx Talk.

Celeste has a master’s degree in music, but is a journalist who did not pursue journalism in college. “Radio show host and professional opera sing are two very different jobs, but in fact, the core mission of both of them is exactly the same in both of those jobs. I’m reaching out to people; I’m communicating with people, I’m inspiring people, I’m moving people using only the power of my voice.”

“If I’m asked how I got where I am I say I found my mission and I forgot about the job title,” she says, while talking about how finding a mission and job can help you. She states the statistics about how 90 per cent of people in the world don’t like their jobs and deduces that the major issue is that we don’t know how to choose the right job for us.

“All the many things that go into happiness on the job the highest single impact is purpose. People who think there’s significance and meaning to the work that they do are more than three times as likely to stay in their job, and they also have higher jobs job satisfaction and they’re also more engaged,” she says while quoting a research by Harvard Business Review.

“It’s generally your co-workers your boss and your sense of purpose, not anything that you would find in your job description,” she states, adding that a “dream job” does not exist.

She gives an example of Ashley Stahl, who spent her life trying to get her ‘dream job’ in national security and worked towards it all her life. “At the age of 23 she got her dream job at the Pentagon, and she hated it. She quit after eight months, she did not even last a year after spending almost 20 years preparing for that job.”

She says that to find the right job, you don’t have to quit your current one. “You have to try stuff out go volunteer freelance take a part-time job, ask your boss can I go work in another department for a couple of weeks. The point is making the stakes really low, put nothing on the outcome either so that you’re brave enough to venture into completely uncharted territory.”

In the end, she gives the audience the opportunity to introspect their mission and job titles and find answers to whether they like their job or not.

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