For some job seekers, finding work or a career that is meaningful is a job search objective. However, gratifying work may have multiple meanings from person to person.
Doing work that helps others, improves the world or aids in a human-interest cause is purposeful for many. Saving the planet, healing the sick, or fighting for justice are such altruistic pursuits. Yet others find meaning in being highly challenged to grow a company or generate more wealth.
An artist, musician, actor or writer may find meaning in the creative process, akin to how many feel using their dominant traits or skills, e.g., math, science, construction, mechanical, communication skills, etc.
Work seems to be most meaningful when you can combine top interests, skills and natural talents. Time flies and there is a sense of “flow” in the activities of work. It’s an almost magical experience in which work doesn’t feel like work.
But not everyone has that experience of work, nor the opportunity to spend their days immersed in what interests them most and to collect a paycheck for it. As it turns out, though, all work can have meaning with the right approach to it.
What’s the secret to making all work purposeful?
Just doing good work can create a sense of meaning and increased gratification. Likewise, viewing interactions with coworkers, customers and business partners as acts of service and kindness can bring joy and purpose to any job. Knowing that your work is contributing to building a company that provides for the livelihood of all its employees has worth, and doing the job before you, whatever it is, to support loved ones can have great import.
Oddly enough, trying to discover true interests or passions as they relate to work can also cause added pressure when searching for a new job. It’s a luxury that wasn’t always afforded to past generations.
Everyone wants to find their dream job, but almost everyone will at times do work that is not their ideal gig. Meaningful work, like many things, often depends on the attitude and gusto brought to it.