Your Job Is Not Your Job

Aligning Your Strengths with Your Role’s Needs

Charlene Wang
3 min readSep 26, 2023

What do a barista, janitor, and CEO have in common?

On the surface, very little. One serves coffee, another takes out trash, and a third runs a company. But if you ask them all the same question, “What is your job?” you may be surprised by their answers. The meaning of their job is so much more than a job title or paycheck. At a deeper level, they share a fundamental human need to find purpose in their work.

This begs the question: What is your job?

Is it about executing tasks at hand or motivating your team to achieve strategic goals? Reducing your purpose to a job description does it a disservice. In this talk, Fred Kofman laid out why your job is not fulfilling a prescribed set of responsibilities but to help your team win.

How can you keep your purpose top of mind?

It’s hard to hold a high-level perspective amid the daily grind. Most folks just follow the incentive systems. With an hourly-paid gig, the incentive is to do a good enough job and maintain good relationships with the employer so the job can last for a long time. If the job has a path to promotion, the incentive is to consistently do the “next level job” so you can get promoted. For companies that do not have an explicit career…



Charlene Wang

Founder, Distillable; Ex-Google Product Manager, Health AI