Create more happiness by making your work more meaningful

Create more happiness by making your work more meaningful

Whether we like it or not, and despite what we often read and hear most of us do like it, the majority of people spend much of their waking life in some sort of paid occupation. The bottom line is that much of our life is engaged in paid work. 

Given that, it's in our interests to try to find ways to enjoy that time and that work as much as is possible. If we do so we benefit, our work improves, and so our colleagues and employers benefit. 

In a recent Harvard Business Review article this topic was addressed and it was suggested, quite rightfully, that there are benefits and ways to make your work more meaningful. If this is something of interest to you then keep reading below…

Make Your Work More Meaningful – Harvard Business Review

Have you noticed the rising chorus in the management literature proclaiming that work must have meaning? On this very site, for example, several authors have published research-based blog posts on how managers can create the conditions that support meaningful work. This is a very positive development, because work is a huge part of life, and meaning in life is not just a "nice-to-have". We need it in the way we need oxygen. There are few things more life-enriching and life-prolonging in human experience than a sense of meaning.

Critically important to performance and well-being, meaning is what makes people thrive. And conversely, a lack of it undermines people's ability to function on many levels, from job performance to mental and physical health. For example, people who self-report that they are missing a sense of meaning in their lives are far more likely to exhibit the chronic pro-inflammatory stress response that is associated with life-threatening diseases like heart disease and some cancers.

But how many people truly experience their work as meaningful? From my experience conducting research, teaching, and speaking in a number of countries over the last 15 years, I can attest that large numbers of people do not. Across all manner of occupations, from gas station attendants to investment bankers, surveys reveal the numbers of people failing to find meaning in what they do.

So what do you do if you're not in a setting where meaning is obvious — because your organization, for example, exists to provide life-saving technology or to raise people out of poverty? What if you work in place where management is unaware or unconcerned that it could do more to infuse the daily grind with a higher sense of purpose?

You learn to make your work more meaningful yourself. While it helps enormously to have conditions in place that facilitate work meaning (like autonomy in deciding how you do your work), it's important to realize that meaning is ultimately something you create on your own. Indeed, even in jobs that may look dismal from the outside, there are always steps you can take to build the kind of meaning that will make you feel better and work better…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE