Is it OK to Not Always Find a Deeper Meaning in Your Work?




  • — March 6, 2019

    Had coffee with a relatively new friend last week. This friend had recently accepted a senior position with a health care company in town.

    Not surprisingly, we talked about her new role and the process she went through to find it. She talked a lot about her focus on finding a position that would allow her to do meaningful work. Work that truly makes a difference in people’s lives.

    Is it OK to Not Always Find a Deeper Meaning in Your Work?

    She found that job.

    And, I seem to be seeing this same theme in my feeds a lot lately. People looking for roles that are connected to a deeper meaning with the individual. So much so that I started to question my motives a bit.

    You see, I haven’t taken that route in my career. I haven’t worked for companies because they connected to a deeper meaning for me. Sure, it was interesting to work at Fairview and the hospital for a bit–that was a unique experience. But, it didn’t connect with me the way it does many others. It didn’t have MEANING for me.

    And, I’m 46. I’m starting to get to that spot in my life where I feel like I should be looking for work with that “deeper meaning.” So, maybe I’m starting to feel a little guilty about that. Maybe not.

    But, here’s my view on this. Meaning can take many different forms.

    I think when most hear “find a job with deeper meaning”, they equate that to working for a company that makes a difference in people’s lives. Working for a children’s hospital. Working for a non-profit that helps homeless people. That kind of thing.

    For me, the “deeper meaning” thing is a little different. For whatever reason, I haven’t ever felt strongly connected to a single cause or organization. I’ll admit, I’ve been lucky. I really haven’t had tragedy strike my life–that’s usually something that propels people to find more meaning. I haven’t been impacted personally.

    My version of “meaning” is pretty simple: I love my job. I go to bed on Sundays looking forward to the workweek. I’m thinking about work on vacation often (sshhhh, don’t tell my wife!). I truly love what I do. Took me 14 years to find it, but the last nine years as an independent consultant have been the best professional years of my career.

    I also find meaning in my work with students–although it’s not as much as I would like. I speak to student groups from time to time and absolutely love it. For years, I’ve been thinking that teaching might be a great ‘second act’ for me at some point.

    This is how I’ve found “meaning.” Now, could that change in the years ahead? Absolutely. Life has a way of throwing us curve balls. And, I’m sure it’ll throw a few at me before this is all said and done.

    But, for now I find meaning in my day-to-day work as a consultant, and by speaking with students and helping them along the way. And I’m fine with that. Hey, we’re all different, right?

    How are you finding meaning in your work?

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