Find Meaning In Your Work

Man with a crazy face climbing a tree illutreates lack of well-being and meaning at work Note: This is the second article on meaning at work. Click here to read the first article. In the chaos and pressure of the workplace, almost everyone, regardless of their age, education or job, asks themselves:

  • What does this job mean to me?
  • What are my goals in this job?
  • What is my purpose in the organization?

Finding or creating meaning at work is essential to your well-being. It requires that you step back and take a look at who you are, what you want and what you believe about yourself and your work.

Meaning at Work Questionnaire Answer the questions below or download the Meaning at Work Questionnaire. Do not rush. Take time to think about each question and develop an answer.

1. Understand your job

  • What are the five (5) most important tasks in my job description?
  • Do I have the necessary skills and experience to do each task? If not, what do I need to learn?
  • Do I find my work challenging, interesting, or boring?

2. My role in the organization

  • How does my work fit into the overall work of my team and department?
  • What do I expect from my job?
  • What do my co-workers expect of me?
  • How does my work support the products and services of my employer?

3. My self-definition

  • What are my values?
  • What interests or excites me about my work?
  • What valuable traits or characteristics do I have?
  • How do I use these traits or characteristic in my work?
  • How confident am of my knowledge, skills, and abilities for my work (1 = Not at all confident and 5 = Extremely confident)
  • Explain your ranking.

Take the Next Step
After you answer the questions, write a meaning at work statement that incorporates components from each aspect of meaning at work. For example, a meaning statement for my work as a technical writer might be: “My work as a technical writer is meaningful because (1) it is challenging and allows me to use my writing skills. (2) I work with a several project teams and the work we do helps employees use company information technology effectively. (3) I see myself as an effective communicator of knowledge and I am constantly learning and sharing that learning with others, which excites me.” The numbers in parentheses indicate the aspect of meaning addressed by the statement that follows it.

Creating Meaning in Your Work As a technical writer working in a health care organization, I was fortunate because I saw clearly the meaning in my work. Unfortunately, not every job is like this. Sometime, workers must create meaning in their work. How do you do this? Follow these steps to help you create a sense of meaning in your work Go back to question #1 in the Meaning at Work Questionnaire and select the most important task in your job description. Answer the following questions about this task:

  • How can I apply my values to this task?
  • How does doing this task help me, my-co-workers, my manager or the company?
  • What successes have I had in completing this task?
  • How can I share my knowledge and experience to help others?
  • Answer these questions for thee more tasks in your job description.

Consider this…
Without work, we cannot survive; without meaningful work, we cannot thrive. ~ Marty Grothe.

Next: Learning at Work

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