5 Ways to Make Your Job Meaningful Work

Posted February 6, 2019 from South Africa


These Ideas Will Help You Make Your Job More Meaningful.

When you think about meaningful work, you probably think about people like Peace Corp workers or school teachers and nurses. All of these are great jobs that are meaningful. But, not everyone can raise money and attention to help get landmines cleared, nor can (or should) everyone try to teach second grade. And if blood makes you faint, nursing isn’t a great idea for you either.

So, how can you turn your job into meaningful work, irrespective of what it is that you do? Here are five suggestions for changing your job from tedious work to meaningful work.

Look at the Big Picture

Why does your job exist? You could be manager, store cashier, or a CEO of a tech company. Each of these jobs is necessary to make the world a better place.

We no longer live in an agrarian society; you need the grocery store cashier to get food. CEOs of well-managed companies provide not only goods and services to the community but salaried jobs for many people. HR managers can make people’s lives much better by helping them progress in their careers, finding and providing the best benefits, and hiring great people.

If you only look at the tasks in front of you, you'll forget how you contribute to the community as a whole.

Treat Each Other With Kindness

A kind person can change everyone's day from drudgery to fun. Yes, work is still work, and sometimes it’s hard, but working with the right people can make you look forward to going to work even if the job is hard work.

One man who worked for a brewery as a delivery man could have seen his job as hard work and drudgery. After all, his job required him to drive from restaurant to restaurant, delivering huge kegs of beer and taking out the empty ones. However the patrons of the restaurants cheered when the beer guy came in with the full beer kegs. Their act of kindness changed his job from being dull and boring to one that he loved.

If you invest in people and stop and inquire about someone’s day, or follow up on how their new kitten or the new baby is doing, you’ll make them feel loved and appreciated. That’s meaningful right there. And the advantage of this for you is, as you are kind to others, the kindness spreads and people will be kind to you.

Work Diligently

How does working diligently make a job meaningful? Well, diligent 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.

Additionally, diligent work is easier than avoiding work. Think about it: when you have to worry if your boss knows how much time you’re spending surfing the internet that adds another layer of anxiety to your job. When you’re working diligently all of the time, and your boss drops by, it’s not a big deal.

When you keep on top of your work, you have lower stress levels. Now, of course, some people are over-burdened and cannot accomplish everything. You might start feeling like “I can’t get everything done, so why bother?” These feelings of stress and failure can pose a huge temptation, but don’t give in. When you start to feel like your job just isn’t meaningful; it’s just work – that adds additional stress to your life.

What you do instead is go to your boss and ask for assistance or ask for an order of priority if this is not a call you can make on your own. Asking for temporary assistance to get through tasks which are time sensitive or have looming deadlines is better that not finishing any of them or doing a poor job of completing them.

Look Outside of Your Job

Does your meaningful work have to be your day job? Of course not! Sometimes your day job can fund your meaningful work. Work-life balance means having a life. Whether it’s through your family, your church, your charity, your art, or whatever else is important to you, that you need a salary to support.

You may consider your job as one that doesn’t contribute to the community and doesn’t make peoples' lives better, but if it provides for your family, and it allows you to enjoy the benefits then it is meaningful. If it allows you to be in service of others and provides fulfilment then, your job is meaningful work.

You don’t have to fulfill all of your needs through your paid job. You don’t even need to feel guilty that you’re working for a large corporation rather than a small non-profit. It’s not bad to earn money. You find your meaning in how you spend that money.

Consider Changing Jobs

If you just can’t see how your current job is meaningful, and you can't figure out a way to make your job meaningful work, then perhaps it’s time for you to move on. If your job doesn’t bring you joy, doesn’t allow you to support your family and give you a sense of fulfilment and joy then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what your values are and how you align what is valuable to you to the work you want to do.

No one has a skill set that is so tiny and so unique that there is only one job in the world that would suit them. And if you have no marketable skills, get training in new skills. You don’t have to invest in a college degree if that’s not your goal. You can take online courses. You can enroll in technical or vocational training class.

No matter your age, you’re not stuck, even if you think you are. You may have limitations based on your current situation, but you’re never truly stuck. If you want to find meaning in your job and work, figure out what you would need to have for it to become meaningful to you and then go find it. Meaningful work doesn’t have to be synonymous with charity work. Every single person can find meaning in their work and their lives. Hopefully, your work and purpose can overlap, but if not, you can still manage both.

Don’t limit yourself to your current situation. Change only happens when you want something better. If you want something better, a job that is more meaningful to you, do what it takes to find more meaningful work.

Comments 9

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Jill Langhus
Feb 07, 2019
Feb 07, 2019

Hi Renate,

Thanks for sharing your good suggestions on changing your job to a more meaningful one. What if you like your job, though, and have meaningful work, but it's tedious still, or you don't feel appreciate it what you're doing? Or, what if you feel like you're trying really hard to start something new and it just doesn't seem to be happening and you've been trying for a very long time?

Hope you're having a good day.

Tola Makinde
Feb 07, 2019
Feb 07, 2019

Thanks for sharing

Feb 09, 2019
Feb 09, 2019

For sure the knowledge is helpful.thanks you

Marie Abanga
Feb 09, 2019
Feb 09, 2019

Dear Renate,

Wow thanks so much for this post. I totally agree with all you say and just add that I rely a lot on my 3 Ps to compass me through: Passion, Purpose, Productivity or meaningful as you call it.
A meaningful life for me should impact myself and others, not leave me drained each day, should show respect and kindness as you rightly point out, and all that.
Thanks so much for sharing
Warm regards

J Brenda Lanyero
Feb 10, 2019
Feb 10, 2019

Hi Renate,
Thank you for sharing this steps and I so love the last two concluding points, so directly pointing to one should do or go.

Bettina Amendi
Mar 05, 2019
Mar 05, 2019

Thank you Renate,
You encouraged me.

Dorothy Nabakooza
Mar 09, 2019
Mar 09, 2019

Wow. The kindness part really hut me hard, it reminded of a time I was bossy that my employees hated coming to work but changing just that made them love coming even on their worst days. Thanks for sharing

leila Kigha
Mar 20, 2019
Mar 20, 2019

Renate dear!
Beautiful and helpful piece. Thank you.
There is nothing as fulfilling as having a meaningful job.
It requires a lot of introspection and constant evaluation.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Apr 14, 2019
Apr 14, 2019

Hi Renate,
Thank you so much for the very insightful article on making our work meaningful. You have to love your job to be able to work with one heart. Now days people work to survive not because they love their jobs. Thanks for this advice am going to pass it on to my friends and colleagues.
Have a great day.