Your Life Isn’t Defined by Your Career 

Learn how to embrace a well-rounded daily existence and discover new ways to find fulfillment outside of work.


Meetup is all about bringing people together to pursue their passions, and for many people, that passion is directly linked with their career. This is reflected in the fact that there are more than 12,000 professional networking Meetup groups across the globe, made up of over 10.6 million members!  

However, it’s an all-too-common reality that professional success gets conflated with personal success. By this same logic, career struggles are often taken as personal failings. Certainly in the United States, but also in many other cultures throughout the world, focus on work can overwhelm other important life goals. 

The emphasis on the value of work isn’t entirely wrong, but the other side of the story deserves to be told, too. Here are just a few considerations that might help you re-evaluate the amount of emotional energy you spend on your career: 

  • Your job won’t love you back — Work isn’t equivalent to a genuine relationship. No matter how much passion and effort you bring to your job, at the end of the day the relationship is still fundamentally transactional.   
  • Work can be unpredictable and stressful — If your sense of self is too wrapped up in your career, you could face some serious emotional turbulence while dealing with the fluctuations of business and economy.  
  • Work is just one aspect of life — It’s okay to value your career, but don’t forget to enjoy a well-rounded life by also paying attention to your health, your friends and family, your relationship to nature, and your personal interests that have nothing to do with work.  

How to round out the rest of your life 

Life is full of possibilities! All you have to do is be open to them, and embrace new experiences. Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to finding fulfillment—part of the journey is learning to listen to listen to yourself, to follow your own heart. 

That being said, it’s a good idea to start with some of the most common priorities that people often encounter when looking for more meaning in their lives. These typically include hobbies, causes, and socialization.  

Find a new hobby and dive in 

The beautiful thing about picking a new hobby is that it can be pretty much anything under the sun! Maybe you’re interested in a pastime that involves physical activity and being outdoors. You could easily pursue this by connecting with a group like Walking Across Chicago, whose nearly 2,000 members explore their city’s past and present together on foot. 

Or you could opt for a more sporting hobby, like pickleball, the new sports sensation taking over the nation, by joining a group like Denver Pickleball – 20s, 30s, and 40s. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to sports, you could enjoy some friendly competition with a community like Women’s Basketball in Tampa.  

If your interests are more on the creative and artistic side, your options are just as wide-ranging. You could swap books at The Book Buffet, learn how to create stunning images with Snap Happy: Photography Lover Club for Beginners!, or step outside your comfort zone and explore new sides of yourself with Actors Helping Actors

Support a cause you care about 

More than 1.1 million people use Meetup to connect with volunteering groups. Anyone can discover a way to give back to the community, locally or globally. If environmental issues speak to you, you might try connecting with groups like Coastal Cleanups, San Diegans Who Care about the Environment, or Ventura Sierra Club

Alternatively, you could find a group like Chicago Fun Volunteers, whose 8,600 members provide an open forum for all kinds of altruistic activities, such as organizing local food pantries.  

Build a community that gives you meaning 

Sometimes you don’t need any other reason to get together than the pure joy of just hanging out, meeting people, and sparking new friendships. 

Find your place among likeminded folks, whether that’s in a huge group like Houston’s Social Singles in their 20s and 30s! with over 20,000 members, or a more tight-knit group like Nashville Sober and Social with 180 members.  

Create a lasting effect by expanding upon these new connections. Try hosting your own event and inviting people who share your interests. You don’t have to be an expert in your chosen activity to host—all you need to do is spread your enthusiasm around. It’s easy to create your own Meetup group for a topic that speaks to you, and start broadening your non-work horizons today!

Last modified on August 8, 2023