Purpose wakes us up in the morning… the search for it. the desire to see it through. It is also what some of us wrestle with at night… fighting sleep.
How can we create a more fulfilling tomorrow?
And while we may not like it, a job oftentimes plays into the answer… or aids in the journey of finding our purpose.
It is a schedule.
A pay check.
But what if you have gotten..
“Sorry, this isn’t for you.”
No answer or ” You’re not what we’re looking for.”
Time and time again.
And you feel forgotten after days, months or years of negative replies despite that undying desire to contribute… to show up… to find a greater sense of purpose…
to feel wanted. needed. respected… in a workplace.
No one should feel that way. No one.
These thoughts and feelings zigzagged through my head as I toured Goodwill Industries of South Florida.
Take a look at these stats the non-profit’s President and CEO David Landsberg presented.
There are 4.5 million people in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, 3.5 million of whom are of working age.
And 12.6 percent of this population have developmental disabilities, physical disabilities or mental disorders that challenge their ability to find and retain work. That is about 460,000 people, the majority of whom are not working.
I went over the numbers in my head as I walked the floor of the manufacturing facility… past the military uniforms, the sewing machines, the buzz in the air. Bright lights, energy, combat coats, trousers, a fleece–then–U.S. interment flags. The bright, bold colors of our great American flag… thread passing through at lightning speed despite the age of the equipment. The stars appearing… each point. Then–the next flag, one after the other.
It was beautiful.
Reset. Recharge. Refill. Buzz. Beep. Cut. Sew. Fast hands. Quick thinking. Precision. Teamwork. Laser focus.
I felt pride for every hardworking man and woman in this room. I saw it on their faces. I saw it on David’s face… the man leading the charge… as he looked upon theirs. A smile. A “hello” or “how are you?” in English, Spanish or French. A glance or two that acknowledged the shared understanding and respect for what is happening here hour after hour. Words did not need to be exchanged.
I did not know about this world. I was unaware of this apparel manufacturing operation that employs more than 1,000 people, many with significant disabilities. The U.S. Department of Defense, a longtime buyer.
I had no idea our Goodwill is, at the same time, tackling laundry services for area hospitals, custodial services in government buildings, and business services for the Miami Herald. I was only ever certain of the donation-dependent retail shops around town.
These are all successful, competitive businesses.
The non-profit’s management trains, employs and encourages some of the formerly forgotten… those cast aside… and those told they could not do it to proceed. thrive. grow.
I listened to their employees stories. some stay for decades. some move on. move up. words of encouragement help them nail that job interview. then, they earn a paycheck elsewhere. a real blessing… after all, there are more people. thousands more who want. need and deserve better.
Pay, and most importantly, PURPOSE.