Find meaning in your work

Find meaning in your work

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May the one who has never experienced existential questions about the utility of his/her job in the company, throw the first stone! In the age of bullshit jobs, these jobs which are devoid of any meaning whatsoever and have been booming since many years in the tertiary sector, at times it’s tough to perceive the actual utility of our realizations in the company. So what can we do? Sending everything packing and converting into being a florist, fireman, nurse, market gardener or another “concrete” job, in order to be able to admire the fruit of one’s work, delightfully? Even if running away seems to be the best solution in such times, raising cattle isn’t the only solution. Even when one is going through major crisis to find some sort of direction, it’s always possible to find meaning in one’s work. Here are a few leads to feel useful in your company again and be in keeping with one’s values. 

What does “meaning” at work signify?

Well yeah, let’s begin at the beginning. Meaning isn’t an objective term with a unique definition. Each one needs to find an echo for their quest for meaning. If you don’t know what matters the most to you, it’ll be even more difficult to know if you’ve achieved it or you’re still far from it. 

Do your own soul-searching:

  • «What are my main aspirations in professional life?”

  • Is it salary, acknowledgement from my superiors, content of the tasks, professional relations, values of the company, social utility…?

  • Do I find more meaning outside of work?” For example, in the professional and personal life balance, leisure, passion…?  

  • « What role does work hold in my life? Is it key? Secondary? Basic? 

The aim is to find out the motivations hidden behind your work. Work for the sake of working, doesn’t make any sense. We all need to work with a precise goal. This approach can take some time as it’s not always easy to analyze oneself. Perhaps, you may need a professional here, to help you out. 

Re-connect with one’s work

After having defined what makes sense to you, think about the aspects which could trigger a sense of accomplishment and utility in your current job. 

  •  “What do I like in my work?” Is it about contributing and making the world a better place, helping others? Is it about developing skills? Do you work to pay for your children’s education? 

If it’s difficult for you to answer this question, ask yourself the fateful question: 

“Is there an important gap between my expectations and reality?”

If the answer is yes, are you capable of implementing or triggering changes in your current position, to get closer to the reality of your aspirations? For example, asking for a more self-sufficient position, receive new challenges or a training to acquire new skills…

Examine the other possibilities within reach

When these changes aren’t enough to resume meaning in your work, it means that the root of the problem is much deeper.

Try to recognize what is really missing in your current situation.  

  • Are you at odds with the company’s values or its management practices? Do you feel the visceral need to make yourself useful and this desire hasn’t been assuaged in your job? Is your work too tedious, monotonous or are you hoping to head towards a whole new path, an artistic or manual one for example? 

Question yourself on the evolution you could give your professional path.

  • Is it time to get a promotion? Get specialized? Do you feel like expanding your skills? Do you prefer moving on and changing environments or companies?  

  • Or is it time to listen to your deep desires and choose something drastically different, like opting for a personal project, travelling or changing careers? 

Is it actually about raising cattle?


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