Are You Looking For Meaning in Your Work?

Sometimes, looking for a sense of purpose in a 9-5 job can be harder than looking for a needle in a haystack. But it’s important to pull it off if you seek career satisfaction.
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The gradsingapore Team
Elliyani Mohamad Ali
Chief Editor, gradsingapore
Are you looking for meaning in your work

About one-third of our life is spent at work. That’s a lot of hours for anyone to spend feeling like they’re accomplishing nothing if they can’t find meaning in their work. But the thing is, every job matters. If it doesn’t, then it wouldn’t have existed. No employer wants to pay someone to do a job that doesn’t bring about any profit or benefit.

Finding meaning in what you do can be easier said than done, though. Imagine you’re working as a truck driver, delivering goods all over the country. The hours are often long, your body hurts from driving all day, and you’ll have to contend with traffic jams on tight schedules. You may feel like you’re just another cog in the supply chain; unable to see the value your work provides. In reality, your efforts help bring smiles to the customers’ faces as they await the arrival of their packages. From a little kid bouncing on their feet as they await their birthday present, to an avid technophile rejoicing at the arrival of the latest new gadget, what you do ultimately brings joy to many, even if it seems thankless.

Everyone plays a key role in society, including what they do at work. So, if you feel like your work is losing meaning, then there may be a few things you can do to try to fix that.

Evaluate what you want out of work

Putting in so much of your time and effort into your job should translate into a fruitful outcome for yourself. Whether you’re just there for the monthly salary, or to put one foot through the door in the industry, you should be satisfied with what you’re getting at work in order to achieve some semblance of career satisfaction.

Are you looking for meaning in your work_Ask yourself

The right mindset

Think of why you’re having trouble feeling motivated and purposeful towards your job. Is it because of stress at work? In one typical day, you could experience hundreds of micro-stressors, minor problems that may be inconsequential in itself, but when combined with hundreds of others, it can lead to you feeling unhappy about your job. While that’s understandable, dwelling on it won’t improve your situation. Tweak your mindset and look at it as a challenge instead. Every job is going to have its pros and cons. Make the effort to find your purpose at work and enjoy your job before taking more drastic actions.

Are you looking for meaning in your work_5 tips

Build positive relationships with people at work

Regardless of whether we’re introverts or extroverts, we are inherently social creatures. Nobody comes to work saying that they hate their bosses and colleagues, yet find purpose at work. It’s also a common saying that people quit not because of their job, but because of their bosses (well, not all the time).

Developing friendships with people you can click with at work can energise you, even if it’s just with one person. It can make you feel excited to head to the office in the morning, and you’ll have a friend to share in the same vision.

Are you looking for meaning in your work_How to make friends

Look outside of work for meaning

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t make your work feel meaningful enough. If you find that happening but you’re not ready to get another job, then consider looking for purposeful volunteer work or hobbies. Spending your Sunday afternoon at an animal shelter may make you feel so much better about life that you’ll be fine working a so-called less meaningful job.

Are you looking for meaning in your work_How to make meaningful activities

Of course, if all else fails, the last resort is to look for another opportunity. You know yourself better now and you’ll be able to better assess the type of job that suits your interests, skills and personality. Trust your instincts. As long as you do your best, you won’t go wrong.