What Does It Mean to Create an Intentional Career?

Are you being intentional or organic about your career? 

Take a moment to reflect on your career path and job positions you’ve held up until this moment.

If you’re anything like me, for most of your life, you took job opportunities as they popped up.

I generally knew I wanted to work in the fields of writing and communications, but I wasn’t particularly strategic about it. When jobs came along that had more seniority, better salaries, or that arose when I had outgrown a previous role or organization, I almost always took them without thought. Sometimes they worked out, sometimes they didn’t; most often they were totally fine.

But looking back, I was floating along relatively passively in my career, on a river not determined by me, just grabbing tree branches or stopping at sandbars when they popped up, not because I had mapped my way there.

That’s what I think of as an organic career. I’ve had a great career and some wonderful positions in the last 20 years I’ve been working. But I simply was moving into jobs when an opportunity presented itself.

I never took the time to create an intentional career: a career where I was proactive. A career where I made values-based goals and decisions. A career based on my vision and self-knowledge. A career that I created, not one that I simply floated into.

I woke up, 20 years into my working life, and realized: It was time to do things differently.

I’m here today, and in the rest of my contributions to this cohort of the GovLoop Featured Contributors, to talk about how you can make your career, from this point on, an intentional one.

Intention is one of my favorite words. Do you know what it means?

Sometimes, when I’m exploring a concept, I look up the dictionary definition just to make sure I’m totally understanding it. And then I look up antonyms to make sure I know what it’s not.

Merriam Webster defines it in a few ways, including the following:

1: What one intends to do or bring about

2. A determination to act in a certain way

And the Cambridge English Dictionary defines it as such:

Intention: something that you want and plan to do

And the opposite of intention?

Antonyms of intention: aimlessness, avoidance, carelessness, heedlessness, neglect, negligence, oversight, purposelessness, thoughtlessness.

I think everybody wants to make intentional and conscious decisions around careers that really reflect who you are, what you want, and then figure out how to take the steps to get there — but we are never given the space to learn and practice how to do this, especially in the field of our jobs.

Well, I’m here to help you change that.

Over the course of the next several weeks, I intend to walk you through reflections, exercises, prompts and activities designed to help you better know yourself, know your career vision, and decide how to act on it in order to create the intentional career of your dreams.

Some of the topics we’ll be exploring:

  • Reflecting on and learning from your previous jobs
  • Journaling to better understand your intentional career needs
  • Discovering your work values
  • Your intentional professional brand
  • Your professional vision
  • And lots more!

Helping people living authentically and intentionally is one of my greatest joys that I’ve discovered in my own exploration of my intentional life. I can’t wait to help you learn more about your intentional career. Because when we’re all living intentionally, aligned with our true values and talents, we help shift the world toward a better place.

Catherine Andrews is an author, teacher, coach, and expert in intentional living who works with clients to mindfully and authentically design a life that reflects all of their potential, dreams, desires and capabilities. She is the author and host of The Sunday Soother, a newsletter, podcast and community dedicated to authentic living and compassionate personal growth. She lives in Washington, D.C., and holds a bachelor’s in English Literature from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University. Before becoming a teacher and coach she spent nearly 20 years in communications and journalism, and she still believes the stories we tell about ourselves and others are our greatest assets.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply