How to have a meaningful working life after 40

I am so excited to finally discover someone who “gets” my internal conflict around work – the meaning of work, how to reconcile the need to fully express my passion, gifts, and talents vs. the need to pay the bills, how to find meaning in the work I do.

Last week, I stumbled upon Sparketype by Jonathan Fields and his team from Good Life Project.

Someone must have been reading my mind, because the ad I clicked on (I’m pretty sure) said “Wondering what to do with your life? Take the Sparketype Test”.

As a serial learner who is curious to understand myself better, I am always on the lookout for information that helps me do that.

Books, reports, personality tests … I love them all, and embrace them as part of my ever-expanding toolkit for growth and competence.

But this explanation of Sparketype made me sit up:

Your Sparketype is the starting point, the essential nature or source-code for the work you’re here to do.

Since 14, I’ve been asking myself what I’m here to do.

My quest has taken me from a career in law to stay-home mum, freelance writer, published author, dabbler-in-various-internet-marketing-schemes, to midlife career coach and introvert mentor.

Each of these iterations in my career journey has been an adventure – there have been revelations, tears, frustration, anxiety, regret, spikes in growth and accomplishment, as well as periods when nothing seems to work and I don’t know who I am and can’t answer the question “So what do you do for work?”

The question becomes more potent after 40. With kids growing up, hormonal and physical changes, and a sense of time speeding up, I want more than ever to know that I am doing the work I am called to do, that only I can do, and that my work means something.

So coming upon the Sparketype Test and reading my personal report has lit a little fire within me (again) – and given me a new angle to understand where I’m at professionally and personally.

I particularly love this description of working life –

When I use the word work or the phrase “working life,” it is meant to include the fuller scope of how you invest yourself in doing what you’re here to do, making meaning and contributing to the world around you.

Sure, for some, that takes the form of a J.O.B.. For others, though, it’s the fuller blend of activities that, taken together, comprise the work you do in the world.  So, you might earn a living doing something you’ve optimized to be as good as it can be that also creates the space to find other ways to express your Sparketype. Something that lets you write poetry, paint, perform, read, organize, represent, give care to loved ones, or any other purer expression of your unique Sparketype “on the side.” Without regard to whether it ever becomes your “main” thing.

Either way, when we look at work through this more expansive, blended lens, the potential to “live a [working] life that is true to yourself” becomes a more viable opportunity for all. Because your work isn’t just your day job, it’s the full-spectrum of how you offer yourself to the world and do the work you’re here to do.

Ready to get clarity and guidance on your career situation?

Book your Midlife Professional Review here.

Serena Low