Table of content:
- Meaning in your work: what is it?
- Why is it important to find meaning in work?
- What are the advantages of having meaning in your work?
- What should you ask yourself to find meaning in your work?
By searching for meaning in your work, you can discover new talents, new abilities, and new capacities. Meaning is something barely mentioned when we talk about work. But it is essential to understand that the search for meaning is a motivation in itself.
There are many reasons why people work. Some people work to make money, others work to achieve their professional goals.
At the end of the day, it is important to know why we do what we do. Indeed, when you find meaning in your work, you are more productive and more engaged than when you do not see it. You need to find meaning in your work. This is the secret to being happy at work.
1. Meaning in your work: what is it?
Can you imagine yourself without money?
What would you do if you suddenly had a lot of money?
There are 2 types of meaning in work: extrinsic and intrinsic.
What is the extrinsic meaning at work?
Extrinsic meaning comes from what you get out of your job: the salary, the benefits, the holidays, and the car.
Extrinsic meaning is superficial. It can be temporary. It can vanish. No one is immune to the loss of extrinsic meaning. Most people experience this at some time in their lives. When you lose a job or a career because of redundancy or layoff, you lose extrinsic meaning. When you change jobs and have to stop doing what you love, you also lose extrinsic meaning.
Extrinsic meaning is the easiest to understand and the easiest to measure. But it is also the most slippery and fragile.
What is the intrinsic meaning of work?
Intrinsic meaning comes from what you put into your job: your effort, your time, your commitment. It comes from how deeply you are committed to what you do. It comes from what your job means to others and you personally.
Intrinsic meaning cannot be taken away from you. It can only be added to by you. It comes from your commitment to your work, from your satisfaction with your performance, and from how deeply you are committed to what you do.
Intrinsic meaning is hard to measure, but it is real and profound. It comes from the feeling that you have done something worthwhile and valuable. From the feeling that what you do matters, not just to you, but to others. It comes from a sense of pride in a job well done and from the belief that what you do makes a positive difference to others or your organisation or society. It comes from a sense of accomplishment when someone else says, “You did a good job!”.
2. Why is it important to find meaning in work?
If you want to do something meaningful with your life, then you must do meaningful work. This might mean prioritising meaningful work over monetary compensation. It might mean taking a job with less prestige or prestige than you could earn elsewhere. It might mean doing work that you don’t enjoy and do not find intrinsically rewarding. But it is still meaningful work, and it can still be satisfying work.
Meaningful work is an important part of our life, a part that we cannot be separated from. It is the way to self-development and self-realisation. Our work is also a way to show ourselves to society, to find ourselves in it.
3. What are the advantages of having meaning in your work?
- It is easier to sleep well at night: you can be proud of your achievements, the result of which is more valuable than money.
- It gives confidence and helps to develop your
- Meaningful work improves the quality of life.
- It gives you a chance to realise your
- It allows you to express your creativity and be active in society.
- You can find satisfaction in your work, and this is the most important thing in a person’s life.
4. What should you ask yourself to find meaning in your work?
You can almost always find some intrinsic meaning in your work, but you may have to dig a little to find it. If you are struggling to find meaning in your work, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I working on something that I enjoy?
- Am I doing something that I am good at?
- Am I working on something that contributes to the greater good?
- Am I working on something that makes a positive difference?
- Am I working on something that shows my strengths?
- Am I working on something that shows my skills?
- Am I working on something that makes me feel good about myself?
- Am I working on something that gives me a sense of accomplishment?
- Am I working on something that makes me feel productive?
- Am I working on something that makes me feel purposeful?
- Am I working on something that makes me feel competent?
- Am I working on something that makes me feel like the best version of myself?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you may be able to find intrinsic meaning in your work by doing one or more of the following:
Think about what you find meaningful.
Dig deeper into what it is that you feel passionate about. What is it that you care about most? What is it that you would do even if you didn’t get paid to do it?
Think about what you find challenging.
Dig deeper into what it is that you feel most challenged by. What is it that you are working toward? What skills are you trying to develop? What knowledge are you trying to gain?
Think about what you find rewarding.
Dig deeper into what it is that makes you feel rewarded. What is it that makes you feel like your work makes a positive difference?
If you can answer these questions, then you might be able to find satisfaction in your work. If you can do this, then your job will be meaningful – regardless of whether you think it is “good” or not.
Not everyone can find intrinsic meaning in their jobs, but we can all find satisfaction. And if we can’t find intrinsic meaning, we can all find extrinsic meaning.
If with the help of all the tools mentioned above you still don’t find meaning in your work, this is maybe time for you to find new professional challenges.
Do you want to talk about it? Our recruiters and consultant are experts in their industries and can help you find meaning in your new job.