If you are among the 70% who are miserable at work, then it’s 94.8314% likely that your efforts are focused on at least one of three things …

1) grinning and bearing it, hoping things will get better,

2) actively looking for another job or

3) making attempts to enhance your work situation but feeling more defeat than success.

And, that’s no way to go about your life, of which a solid 50% of waking time is spent at work. Can miserable become anymore miserable?  They say misery loves company.,,

Let’s shake it up!

In this article, we’ll consider the importance of meaningful work and what we know about the pathways leading to meaningful work. Research shows that meaningful work increases job satisfaction and life satisfaction as well as overall well-being. You’ll want to let your job efforts be informed by meaningful work.

I like what Michael F Steger PhD, author, researcher and speaker on “Meanings at Work” says. Meaningful work includes 3 important aspects …

1) The worker knows and feels like the job is important to the organization, appreciated and not a waste of time. The job makes sense and resources personally and organizationally are available to do the job.

2) The work that is done resonates with the rest of what is important in the worker’s life.

For example, if being a great parent is important, the job’s demands are in alignment.  So,  a job that requires the worker to be absent from her children might not be acceptable, or the job would need to provide accommodations.

If “damaging the reputation of other people” in the process of getting results at the work site is an accepted practice, then a conflict might exist for some workers who can’t accept the rationalizations.  The end doesn’t justify the means.

3)  Finally, work that serves some greater good. Whether it is work that makes the world a better place, reduces poverty or generally enhances positive movement for someone else, serving a greater cause than self is a part of meaningful work.

Pathways to meaningful work follow Dr. Steger’s acronym SPIRE. Think about your work, past and present. Consider the following as you choose future work … 

S—Strengths

Know your strengths and use them in the delivery of your job tasks and work relationships. Think about a time when you felt so natural while performing a task, accomplishing a goal or contributing to a team. Your strengths are showing!

P—Personalization

If you ran the world, what would we see more of around us? Think about it. Bring an ownership mentality to your work and choose to make a positive difference.  Both you and your organization benefit.

I—Integration

What about your work makes the rest of your life meaningful? An accountant can work with his clients with compassion, knowing the discomfort money management often holds, being careful to guide vs. judge the client negatively. He knows what it is like to be “uninformed” and wants to assist rather than diminish another’s confidence.

R—Resonance

What is the mission/value statement of your organization (or your company)? How are your personal values in alignment? There’s a satisfaction that comes from recognizing the existence of both.

E—Expansion

How can you tweak your work to positively impact the world around you? This is fun. Outside of normal work tasks, how are you contributing to others? To the larger community around you?

The takeaway is …

In times when job misery is so prevalent and it can be tough to leave a paying job, designing meaningful work is perhaps an untapped resource. Meaningful work matters. Be determined to make your current job better by making it more meaningful. You have the tools.

I’m interested in your reply, What makes your work meaningful?


Consider signing up for a Love My Work Strategy Session today.  We can identify steps you can take today that bring you closer than ever to the meaningful job you want.