How to Find Meaningful Work – Free Ebook

the first requirement of any job is that it should pay but almost as important yet much less commonly recognized is that a job should feel full of meaning yet how does a job get to feel meaningful what even does it mean to say that a job has meaning there seem to be three things that imbue work with meaning firstly a meaningful job taps into the deepest most sincere and talented parts of us so different people will necessarily find different sorts of work meaningful according to what’s inside their deepest self for some meaning might emerge from baking bread others will feel their deep self engaged by computer science for others still they’ll feel most fully themselves most fully alive when investing money or teaching kids our foreign language secondly a meaningful job is one which to some extent helps others which fixes a problem that humans have a job which in ways large and small serves humanity meaningful work provides a service to others and thirdly a job feels meaningful when the person doing it can viscerally sense day to day the impact of their work upon an audience not only is the job theoretically meaningful it actually feels meaningful as one does it in the course of an average day why should it be so hard to find meaningful work why are we in such danger of doing work that brings in money but doesn’t fulfill the meaning side of us three big reasons stand out firstly because it’s perilously hard for us to locate our true interests in the time we have before simply paying the bills becomes the imperative our interests don’t manifest themselves spontaneously they require us to patiently analyze ourselves and try out a range of options to see what feels as if it might have the best fit for us but unfortunately schools and universities as well as society at large doesn’t place much emphasis on this stage of Education on helping people to understand their authentic working identities there’s far more emphasis on simply getting ready for any job than a job that would be particularly well suited to us which is a pity not just for individuals but for the economy as a whole because people will always work better harder and more fruitfully when they’re deep selves are engaged secondly many jobs are relatively meaningless because it’s very possible in the current economy to generate profits from selling people things that aren’t really helping them in any way but a more could winking them or preying on their lack of self-command most of us have a dangerously loose hold on what really brings a satisfaction long term which gives room for entrepreneurs to build huge and profitable businesses selling stuff which no one’s particularly proud of at the end of an average day those working in these businesses know in their hearts that they haven’t really helped anyone have a better life that job pays that’s why they keep doing it but there’s sadly very little meaning thirdly a job may have real meaning may genuinely be helping others but it may not feel like this day-to-day because many organizations are so large so slow-moving so split up over so many continents that the purpose of everyone’s workday gets lost emits endless meetings memos conference calls and admin if you’re one of 10,000 people on four continents working towards a product that will help humanity in 2022 you may well lose the thread of what the real purpose of it all is no wonder people who work in large organizations often fantasize about throwing it all in and working in a job with a more tangible sense of the end result for example running a small B&B or a landscape gardening firm the very scale of modern enterprise has sapped a lot of work of a sense of meaning this diagnosis helps to point the way to what we might begin to do to make work more meaningful for people firstly pay a lot more attention to helping people find their vocation their real working authentic selves through moves like career psychotherapy extended work placements and changes to school and university curricula so as to allow students to start to analyse their identities and aptitudes from a much younger age secondly the more we as customers can support businesses engaged in meaningful work the more meaningful jobs there will be consumers have an enormous power over what kind of lives we can have as producers by raising the quality of our demand we raise the number of jobs there are can answer to mankind’s deeper needs thirdly in businesses which do meaningful work but on to larger scale over too long a period for it to feel meaningful day to day we need to get better at telling stories of what the business is up to we need to give work some of the intimacy of a small B&B even if it is a giant multinational ensuring that work is meaningful is vital it’s not a luxury it determines the greatest issue of all in modern economics and politics how hard and well people will work and therefore how successful and wealthy our societies can be you you

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