The Six Principles to Career Happiness

This is really the Manifesto of the Purposeful Paycheck Tribe.

You are career heretics.

I brand you that because you, like me, have devoted your life to principles that are on the fringe of what the majority seeks in their careers.

You live differently. You approach work and life with a unique perspective.

You see work not as forced labor, but as an expression of your unique contribution to humankind.

You are devoted to finding purposeful paychecks. And THAT sets you apart.

So in this manifesto, I wanted to take off the gloves, so to speak, when writing it and intentionally attack misguided or wrong attitudes, perceptions, philosophies and beliefs about work and its role in our lives.

From the beginning, I have set out to intentionally piss some people off (the status quo, establish, non-heretics types)… but honestly, more worthwhile than that, I want to change the perspectives of the rest who simply want to find happiness in their work … and help others do so as well (aka recruiting a band of heretics to join me).

This is truly a siren call for the faithful few.

There are too many unhappy, unfulfilled, unsatisified and consequently bitter and miserable people in the work world.  There are also too many people who waste their time on earth yearning for the clock to strike 5.

That’s simply a waste. A tragedy. A messed up way to live. But I want to help fix that.

So I purposefully want to be heretical here and say some blunt things you might need to hear.

This manifesto is a work-life guide for those who seek to use their time and talents on earth not simply to earn a paycheck but to make a difference with their life’s natural resources.Yes, we need to make money. But we can do so AND also make meaning for ourselves and others.

Disclaimer: This manifesto is not for everyone. It is for those who believe they are mere stewards of their life and want to use it in a rewarding way, every day.

So let’s start, first, with the foundation … the keys and principles of finding purposeful paychecks … and we’ll with a plea.

The Purposeful Paychecks Manifesto:

I can boil my own purposeful paycheck heresy down to six defining principles. These reflect the keys I’ve used throughout my adult life to find meaningful work that I enjoy while also supporting my life’s goals, dreams and objectives.

As I wrote this, I was writing my own belief statements down — the ones I seek to actually live every day — so I started off these statements with “I Will …”.. However, I know I am not alone.

I’ve met a number of people throughout my life who live according to these principles. They are amazingly successful people … according to their own definition of success … and thus, pretty dang happy doing work they love.

We are the few who seek purposeful paychecks.

We are the brave and bold who dare to live counter to the social norms of miserable workplaces that are filled with unhappy and unfulfilled people.

We are the heretics of the purposeful paycheck.

In order to be consistently happy in our work and in life, the Purposeful Paycheck Heretics Tribe will …

1. Live Financially Frugal and Free.

We’d rather do work that we love and get paid pennies above our need, than work to maintain a fleet of needless earthly possessions.

We choose fun, meaningful work over being a slave to the things we own. We don’t need a house that everyone covets. We don’t need a car we can’t park near the front of the grocery store.

Consequently, we don’t want to own anything that is simply a narcissistic trophy and requires a hefty, life-sucking payment, with compounding interest of constant worry.

Those who seek purposeful paychecks want a frugal lifestyle that allows us to be free to pursue whatever career we want and choose in my life. If tomorrow, we decide to join the Peace Corps, we don’t want the expensive material baggage to keep us from pursuing that journey.

When you take a job JUST because of the financial lifestyle upgrade you can get with it or to support your lavish material cravings, you’re choosing an almost certain path to misery.

Money jobs are prison cells. Ask your parents.

Those seeking purposeful paychecks choose career freedom over material slavery. We choose to live a frugal and free financial lifestyle that gives us vast and diverse options and choices to pursue our brand of happiness, passion and purpose.

We will happily trade six figures for six weeks working abroad, six seasons of Little League coaching, or six changed lives. Living financially frugal gives us the freedom to find maximum alignment in our work-life equation.

2. Seek Work-Life Alignment Over Balance.

Work-life balance is a hot topic. It’s a step in the right direction, but falls short.

Work-life balance gives preference to one priority over the other, often at another’s expense. Balance forces you to choose, to pick a priority, to make a sacrifice.

Work-life alignment supports both. It seeks mutual prosperity.

Work-life alignment seeks to find a straight line between your life goals, dreams and objectives and your vocation to MINIMIZE the sacrifices and expensive choices.

It seeks to find a match between your strengths, interests and passion with where you want to go in life.

Those pursuing purposeful paychecks seek out our life goals, dreams and objectives FIRST … then seek to pair our strengths, interests and passions with a career that aligns most with each other.

3. Keep Learning. 

Most unhappy people stopped learning long ago. They think they magically arrived one day because they accomplished some marker in life (like a college degree, raise or promotion).

For the tribe of the purposeful paycheck, we love to learn though. Life is absolute and unending curiosity for us. So we yearn for learning.

We always seek to learn and grow and add new skills and experiences to our resume so that we are more valuable for ourselves and for our teams and customers and clients.

Learning and growing gives us the edge by keeping us ON the cutting edge. To stop learning is to whither and die. And we seek to live fruitful and fulfilled lives that comes through endless journey of learning.

4. Find Purpose In Our Paychecks.

Because we have to pay the bills, we are seekers of paychecks first. But that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t seek and find purpose through it.

Our paycheck supports our life goals and dreams because we’ve aligned our lives with our work. But our paycheck is WAY more than simply making money, it’s about making meaning in the world through our work.

Purpose is the foundational key to lasting happiness. Without it we wander and become empty. Therefore, we need a cause, a reason for being and doing.

We seek to use our passions, talents, time (and often our treasure) to make a difference in the world – and other people’s lives. We seek to make people’s lives awesome as a result, which provides us dividends far greater than just an ordinary paycheck.

Whatever we do, wherever we go, we’re always seeking to find the great mission and purpose in all we do.

5. Change It When It Sucks.

Too often we’ve been taught — like a elephant tied to a small stake in the ground — that we’re bound to something we have much more power over.

We’re not slaves — to a lifestyle or even a job or a boss.

The purposeful paycheck tribe seeks to find happiness, satisfaction and contentment in our vocations.

If we can’t find it, or the opportunity or environment for achieving it isn’t possible … we seek to change it before we get bitter and affect others (most importantly our significant others).

Happiness in our work is OUR responsibility. No one says you have to stay if you’re unhappy. Those most bitter or unhappy at work are often trapped. The result? The Bitter Bob and Bettys of the world.

The heretics of the purposeful paycheck believe we have an obligation to change our attitude, setting, work or job if needed in order to avoid joining the Work Bitter group.

6. Pass It On By Multiplying Ourselves.

Those of the purposeful paycheck tribe were helped at some point in our lives by others passing down their knowledge and wisdom to us. Thus, we pledge to do the same for others.

We want to see more happy, fulfilled people in their work. We believe the world will be a better place because of it.

Therefore, it is our duty and charge to leave a lasting legacy. To pass on what we have learned (and are learning) to help others. The best way to do that is to be a mentor and coach to those seeking purposeful paychecks for themselves.

In this way, we find deeper and richer purpose by multiplying our lives and our impact well into the next generation and beyond.



Now as we have gone through these six principles of the purposeful paycheck tribe, I want to offer you a plea. 

I urge you to take a minute and reflect on something priceless: your life and its gifts.

Look out on the runway of your life. You have limited time to make the most of it. And know now that you are a steward of it.

Use it to help change the world in and through your work.

Do good. Do right. Do more with it.

Find happiness and fulfillment in your work, always seeing the purpose through it.

The world needs people who know what they want in life and seek to use their strengths, skills and natural life resources to provide value to others.

I believe the world will be a better place if we all sought to make a difference in it through our work.

Imagine a world that approached work not like a curse, but as a blessing.

Imagine a world filled with people excited about what they do every day.

Imagine a world where that kind of multiplying impact would be felt.

Imagine the innovation. Imagine the quality. Imagine the beauty of a world who viewed their work as a masterpiece.

Imagine the passion. Imagine the purpose. Imagine the power.

That’s a world I’d gladly be branded a heretic in order to see.

Now, to those who are still here after all these words yet feel them resonating within you, I have a message for you: The world needs more of you.

The world needs more seekers of the purposeful paycheck. 


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