Gen-Z Career Expert Says That A Job Does Not Need To Align With Your Purpose — ‘Clocking In & Clocking Out Is Enough’

Our jobs don't have to be our reason for living.

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Gen X-ers, millennials, and Gen Z-ers might exist at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the width pants should be or the proper way to make a heart shape with your hands; however, we do have one thing in common: We were all raised with the idea that we should find jobs we’re passionate about.

Because so many of us have internalized the narrative that we should love our work, it’s easy to feel bad about yourself and your trajectory if you don’t, in fact, love your job. Breaking free from that mindset is something anyone can benefit from, no matter what era you were born in. 


A Gen-Z career expert says that a job doesn’t need to align with your purpose — ‘Clocking in and clocking out is enough.’

Morgan Sanner, a Gen Z-er who works in Human Resources, shared the one piece of career advice she’d offer her younger self, which would be “To stop finding my entire sense of purpose from my job.”

RELATED: Gen Z Worker Says His Goal Is To ‘Descend The Corporate Ladder’ To Avoid Spending His Salary On Therapy Due To Job Stress


“I think it’s great that so many of us Gen Z-ers want work that we find purposeful, but I think in the end that is just going to do us more harm than good,” she continued before explaining why it’s totally OK to separate your passion from your profession.

“The job search should not also be a purpose search,” she said. “When you’re looking for a job, you should not also be trying to find your identity.”

Part of stepping into young adulthood is seeking space for yourself. You look at the world to try and find where you fit and who’s in the community that makes you feel most like yourself. Being unsure about what the future holds is part of that journey, as is trying out multiple roles to see what aligns with your values. This might mean you end up in a job you don’t like, which is an entirely normal and common occurrence.

Sanner gave sage advice as to why having a job you’re passionate about might not actually make you happy, saying, “The other reason is that when you’re looking for work that you find purposeful, you might find yourself in a financial situation that you cannot sustain or that does not align with the life you want to live.”

@yourtango Gen Z refuses to live to work - and we could all benefit from adopting some of their boundaries #genz #corporate #worktok #worklifebalance #corporatelife ♬ original sound - YourTango

She shared her own job search experience as an example, saying, “I can think of probably a dozen jobs that I would’ve loved, but they either would not have paid enough or would not have allowed me to work from home, and that does not align with the life I want to live.”

RELATED: Job Experts Blame ‘Resenteeism’ For Why Gen Z Does The Bare Minimum At Work — But Gen X Workers Might Be Even Worse

Your job doesn't need to check every single box in your life.

"It’s okay if you have a job that you just happen to be good at that you get paid for that you don’t love and that the world doesn’t need," Sanner added.


When she was in college, she interned for Honda, where she was introduced to a Japanese concept called “Ikigai,” which translates to “A reason for being.”

She showed a Venn diagram with the overlapping elements that make up Ikigai: That which you love, or your passion, that which you are good at, that which can be paid for, and that which the world needs, or your mission.

The Japanese government notes that ikigai is a term that has entered the global lexicon, referring to whatever brings value and joy to your life, from people, like family and friends, to activities, like work and hobbies. Ikigai is a practice that helps people live a life that is full of balance and meaning.

Sanner said that Ikigai initially stressed her out. "I didn’t think it was possible for me to ever find a job that met all four of these criteria," she said. "Now that I’m older, I realize you don’t need to fulfill all of these with your full-time job.


She explained how to implement the concept of Ikigai across the different realms of life, saying, “You can find these things in your relationship, in your traveling, in your volunteerism.”

“Regardless of where you are in your career, just know that if you have a job that you clock in and clock out for, that’s OK. It doesn’t need to go any further than that.”

In a world that demands so much of our time, energy, and income, just getting through the day can be seen as a victory. Sanner’s advice is not only wise, but it’s rooted in utter compassion and self-acceptance. 


RELATED: Gen-Z Worker Quits Her Well-Paying Corporate Job With No Backup Plan — ‘This Is Not The Life I Want’

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture and all things to do with the entertainment industry.