Career Transition

Finding Meaning in Your Work

June 14, 2021

You might love your job but sometimes wonder what you’re actually contributing to the world. There’s a common misconception that you have to work for places like a charitable organization, a research lab creating cures for illnesses, or an activist group to make a difference. These are just examples, of course. But, sitting behind your desk might not always feel fulfilling.

Maybe it should.

By changing how you think about work, you’ll start to see there are small things you can do each day to make a difference and find meaning.

Not sure just what those everyday meaningful moments might look like? Let’s talk about what you can do and the impact it can have.

How to Find Fulfillment in Your Work

It’s not necessarily up to your job to bring you a sense of purpose. You have to decide what that is on your own, and come up with personal ways to make your life more meaningful. That often starts with changing your perspective.

Start within your business. How does your specific job impact your coworkers, clients, customers, or anyone you interact with? Consider some of the following careers in data analytics:

  • IoT specialist
  • Data orchestrator
  • Data hygienist
  • Machine teacher
  • CIO

On the surface, you might not think those careers are helping anyone. But, it’s about how you analyze data and what you do with it that makes a difference. Most researchers are collecting data and putting it to use for good reasons – mostly to help the planet and/or mankind. That’s something you can feel good about.

Are you a web designer or programmer? Consider how making the sites you create more accessible can help others to use the web freely. Do you work in marketing? Focus on “green” efforts that can reduce your agency’s carbon footprint. Are you a business person? Have a positive impact on your whole team by hosting brainstorming sessions and making everyone feel valued.

We could list examples all day. The point is, whether you’re a corporate CEO or flipping hamburgers for a living, you can find meaning in your work when you look for ways to do it.

Pursuing a Positive Career

If you’re just graduating college and entering the workforce, you have a unique opportunity. You get to choose your own career path and look for jobs that will provide you with a sense of meaning.

Consider what you’re truly passionate about and any jobs that might allow you to do something with them. If your biggest concern is the environment, for example, you might want to work for a business that is focused on sustainability efforts.

Even if you can’t directly work with a business dedicated to such things, you can be a voice and a light wherever you work. Change the company culture by advocating for recycling programs and environmentally-friendly upgrades. Again, seeking out ways to make changes and find meaning can make all the difference.

You’ve probably heard the saying “it’s the little things that count”. Consider the things you can do every day at your job – no matter how small – that might have a more meaningful impact on someone else than you originally thought. The more you focus on those things, the better you’ll feel about the purpose of your career.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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