Finish this sentence: My job is a tool for...

Amy Lindgren joins MPR News with Kerri Miller every other month for advice about jobs and careers. This time we get to what she calls "the bedrock" of her career counseling practice: thinking about our jobs as tools.

Lindgren said it's important to not think of your job as the end game. It's important to step back and think about how that job is helping you achieve what you want in life, she said.

4 tips to find the job that improves your life

1. Take control

"You have more choices and if you don't make them, someone will make them for you," Lindgren said. "If you want control over your life, you make the choices."

2. Money on its own is not an answer because it's also a tool.

You earn money and that becomes a tool you choose to use for different purposes. Examples: Money allows you to pay for your child's private education, your travels or your hobby.

3. You job can be the tool to accomplish your goals or it can get out of the way.

If your job allows you to spend more time with your family or offers flexibility so you can volunteer and make a difference in your community, that's OK too. Your job doesn't need to be satisfying as long as it gives you the space to find joy in your free time.

4. Think about your ultimate dream life.

What do you want to be doing? What do you want to have in your life? Use these questions to think big and then take steps to either accomplish those goals within a job or find a job that gives you the space to work on that goal.

Some listeners contributed their answers:

From the live stream:

Andy: My current job as a medical scribe is a stepping stone in preparation for medical school and my ultimate God-given purpose of being a doctor.

Sarah Malm: My job makes me money to live so that in my free time I can be artistic. I am building a side business designing greeting cards.

Jimnelson1: I practiced law for more than 40 years, and did reasonably well. Then it was a tool to earn a living and challenge myself with interesting problems. Now because I did well, my job has become a tool for helping change lives through volunteer work. I can afford to spend time on volunteer work as well as put money toward helping people. In retrospect, it has made my 40-year "day job" more worthwhile than I could have predicted.

Lindgren provided the following worksheet to help you think about your own career goals:

What's your job a tool for? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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