Most people will spend more time at their workplaces than anywhere else in their lifetimes. In fact, the simple mathematics shows that most of us will spend more than a third of our entire life at work. The average person will spend over 90 000 hours of their time at work and if you can’t make it enjoyable at least make sure that it is worth your while. Furthermore, the jobs that we do are interrelated with the personal, family, spiritual and community aspects of our lives. It is thus of vital importance to develop a meaningful career that will positively affect the other areas of our lives. Everybody wants to feel happy, valued, and comfortable at work. It is accepted as human nature for human beings to seek purpose and meaning in everyday life.
This article shows that this is not necessarily about having to make drastic career changes, but more about a change in mindset. Being able to see the value of what it is you do is the first step about creating a feel good, meaningful career.
The feel-good careers what are they?
Finding meaning in a career can be different for different people and for some people a career is the last of their worries, they go to work and have jobs, primarily for the financial rewards. However, at the very basic level a meaningful career is one that will positively affect our wellbeing and that of others. It very well may be that this is the financial well-being, spiritual or mental wellbeing that comes from a solid family and close relationships. But simply based on the time spent at work means that it is those who are able to positively improve their overall integrated well-being with a career that will go a long way to a longer, happier healthier working life.
There are a few aspects that will make your work more meaningful:
- Using your skills to the maximum: – Being able to use the skills that you have built up over time and any that you have spent time and money studying and developing is one of the best ways to feel that your work is worthwhile.
- Being part of something bigger and able to see how your small contribution adds up for the overall organization is a fantastic way to be confident about what it is you do.
- Being made aware that your contribution is appreciated and that it means something to others will allow you to always give your best.
- Having a level of enjoyment from the work that you do is always suggested as a way tokeep going back for more.
- Having some control over the work that you do, whether it is in management of the role or simply being able to decide what is you do and when, as long as you meet your targets.
Historically it was careers in nursing and teaching that were regarded as the noble professions where you put more in than you got out and were highly respected in the community. This has changed somewhat and although these are still regarded along with other more general and varied professions such as a Human Services Degree, and environmentalism, as long as you are able to make a real difference in what you do and see this, it will serve to make you feel good and improve your overall work life balance.
In today’s economy it is accepted that no matter what you do, as long as it is making others feel good and provides you with value then it is worthwhile. Even the hairstylist who provides an essential feel-good service should be regarded as a noble profession and as such will have meaning.
Whyfeel-good careers are good for us
Helping others is known to make us feel better about ourselves and as such care work, social work, nursing, teaching, emergency aid, sustainability and anything in the green economy and human services have been regarded as good for you careers. Then there are those that the person in question simply loves to do, where the feel-good factor is internal and derived from the enjoyment of the task or role. The premise being that doing any of these as a means to earn a living is the ultimate career. There is no clock watching and the employee, businessperson or worker enjoys their job. It is this enjoyment and the creation of value that the worker can appreciate which will define a feel-good career of the modern era.
Work or career should essentially serve two predominant purposes, to create bothintrinsic and instrumental value. The intrinsic value is the fact that the work you do has significant and relatable meaning and the instrumental value of work(and a career) is the fact that you need to do it to generate the financial wherewithal to support and raise a family. Both of these will provide meaning in the work that you do, making it worthwhile and giving you purpose.
Not all of us can save lives, invent the latest technology or open our own business to be able to create the flexibility for family and fun that we have been led to believe we deserve and should have. Therefore, if we are ALL to find meaning in our careers it will be about a change in mindset and being able to see the positive aspects or pinpoint the real benefits to self and others of your work.
Once there has been such a change in mindset it will be much easier to feel good about what it is we do with our time. Regardless of how monotonous or seemingly boring the work may seem it is this work that will allow the possibility of balance.
The work life balance
A large amount of recent writing and advice as to wellbeing has been to establish a work life balance. This is the process of balancing the time, effort and commitment shown at work with that given to and spent with family, loved ones and doing the things that you love.
Many have resigned and sought to change theirentire way of work, changing careers midstream in search of the perfect sustainable career that allows flexibility and yet still pays top dollar. It is not an easy thing to do, and many have been left in worse off positions after such moves. The concept of a work life balance is important and cannot be disputed, however, the starting point for the discussion may have been somewhat incorrect, as in the current economic context having a job and keeping it is noble, and the meaning of work should not be mistaken as anything else but the instrumental value. Herein lies the ability to appreciate what you do and balance this with what you love in away that considers that at its most basic your work pays for the life you want to live.
It has become more important than ever to create a work life balance and this, it is argued herein, can only be done with a meaningful career. No matter how you try to even out the time that you spend doing the things that you like and enjoy with the time you spend at work. It is thus essential that you manage to find the value in your work.
Whether your career or job is one where you help others, provide a necessary and essential service or simply do a great cut and style, you need to realize the value of what you do and regardless of if this is only financial once you see the value in the career choice then there will be meaning and in this meaning it will be easier to establish a realistic work life balance.
A meaningful career is noted as one of the main ways to deal with the stresses and pressures of modern-day life. These stresses have been seen to adversely affect both mental and physical health and must be dealt with if we are to realize our potential. From headaches, depression, insomnia, to high blood sugar and tense muscles,there is a wide variety of effects of stress on the body. The overall health and wellbeingare more adversely affected by stress than any other issue in modern times, affecting more people than ever before. It is thus essential to have a clear understanding of where these stress aspects occur and how they can be minimized or dealt with by having a successful work life balance.
There has been a change in global mindsets in terms of how we work and how this work is valued. It’s the first question that people ask of us when we meet, what do you do? As such it is a defining feature of the lives we live. Being able to understand why a meaningful career is so important and how to develop one given the current context and jobs market is important and this article has provided you with a great start in this regard.