What do you most want from your job? More money? Opportunities for promotion? Flexibility? If you’re like most people who are asked this question, chances are the number one thing you want from your work is meaning. Everyone wants to be liked and appreciated by the people we work with every day. We want to be seen as someone who makes a difference — whether it’s the impact we make through our work or the relationships we cultivate with our co-workers. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and neglect the small, simple ways you can make your work more meaningful and memorable. Here’s how to make any job – yes, literally any job – feel like it means more than just a paycheck.
Be intentional about each day
It is easy to let days turn into weeks turn into months turn into years of just coasting. Don’t do it. Be intentional in every day. Even if it’s just doing one small thing for a co-worker, don’t miss an opportunity to add value to someone else. Is it easy? No. Will there be days where you don’t feel like investing in encouraging someone else? Absolutely. But it’s the seemingly ordinary and mundane moments that often make the most difference. A dozen small interactions over the course of the year go a long way.
Keep your eye on the big picture
Speaking of the bigger picture, when you’re starting to feel as if your work lacks meaning, remind yourself of this: Every job is meaningful, because every job offers something. Whether it’s the ability to gain experience, refine new skills, or meet new people, every job is contributing something important and valuable to your professional story and journey. That’s not something to be written off or discounted. So, in those moments when it all seems pointless, remember that you’re always getting something out of that position.
Be “secretly” incredible
The truth is we all want others to perceive us as hard-working. But being a hard-working, good person is, well, hard work. Often, we put ten times the energy into being “publicly good” then we do into being “privately good.” But the real difference-makers don’t invest in others for the recognition. They do it because they actually care. And the real rewards come to those who establish that kind of character for real.
How does working hard make a job meaningful? Well, hard work often equals success. When you succeed in your job, you help others in your department succeed in their jobs. When your whole department succeeds, the company succeeds. That is pretty meaningful.
Everybody experiences those moments (alright, maybe even days) when their jobs simply don’t feel meaningful—it’s an easy trap to fall into. But, you don’t want to continue to spiral into that way of negative thinking. Instead, remember these four key things, and you’re sure to feel inspired and fulfilled by your work once again.
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