Work takes up a great deal of our lives. The average American will spend about 30 percent of his/her life working. Now of course there are different types of jobs that people believe bring a level of inherent meaning, but even a dream job has times of stress, boredom, and paperwork. And some jobs considered dull can be found to have meaning if one has a certain frame of mind. Regardless of your job, there are things to keep in mind which add perspective and allow you to find meaning at work.
Four Ways to Find Meaning at Work
Remember Why You Work
If you are struggling to find meaning at work, perhaps you need to evaluate exactly why you work. Once you do this, your attitude may change for the better. Obviously, a salary is important, but there are likely other reasons. To discover those other reasons, answer these questions:
- Do you want to be an expert in your field?
- Do you seek success?
- Do you seek a daily challenge?
- Do you enjoy helping others?
- Do you crave a daily of weekly sense of achievement?
- Do you need to create something?
- Do you need to get out of bed every day?
- Do you seek the camaraderie of others?
How many of these did you answer “yes” to? If you answered “no” across the board, you may want to determine which job might be better suited to you.
Look Beyond Work to Find Meaning at Work
Sometimes work is considered as a means to an end. Perhaps your passions lie well outside the realm of work. You can find meaning at work by understanding that without the salary, benefits, and structure your job provides, you could not afford fly-fishing supplies, or plane tickets to the streams of Colorado. Even smaller hobbies can provide meaning if you devote time to them each day after work, e.g. painting or gardening.
Keep an Eye to the Future
When you are struggling at a job, it is difficult at times to understand that the job won’t last forever. And it certainly won’t if you decide to invest in your future. Take on extra tasks at work to develop new skills. Perhaps take a chance on that management position you were offered. Gain knowledge through your local community college. Dust off your resume and start to develop areas which can help you find another job. Your current job can be a stepping stone to one which enables you to find meaningful work.
Be Mindful of Meaningful Work Moments
If you are fully present at work, you will discover that regardless of what you do, you have moments throughout the day which you enjoy. Whether these take the form of helping a co-worker, or creating the best widget to date, awareness may surprise you when you add up the number of positive experiences.
It’s All Attitude
You are in charge of your thoughts. You are never trapped or victimized, at least not long term. It’s all about how you view your circumstances. These circumstances (your job) allow you to do what you love outside of work, notice beneficial things during work, and can allow you to prepare for the next step in your life. You infuse meaning, and you can find meaning at work through a positive attitude.