The core of finding meaning in your job is directly related to whether you find significance and importance in what you do, professionally.
Let’s be real, you do not always have to like all the tasks your job requires of you but you have to at least look forward to the outcome.
Completing the mundane creates a base for you to work on more significant and exciting tasks.
You will need to firstly have a mindset that expands beyond your job and learn how to integrate your personal dreams with your company’s goals.
Remember to remain transparent with your employer regarding your job fulfilment and align yourself towards the bigger picture.
With the above mindset set in place, let’s dive into the three practical ways to find meaning in your job.
1) Visualise your current job
More often than not, we get a clearer picture if we pen things down; visually comparing pointers to ensure we do not miss anything.
This exercise demands some effort but it is better to spend a tad bit more time now to crystallise your significance rather than jumping into the unknown.
Practical Tip: Take a pen and paper or open your Word document, create two columns.
On the left column, list down – “What is expected of me?” and, on the right column, list down – “What brings me fulfilment?”.
Keep these pointers fully based on work.
After you have completed both the lists, match your pointers across both the column; finding which points are in-sync with your expected duties and what brings you fulfilment.
The more matches you have, the more likely you are to accomplish your set tasks and enjoy the significance of your job.
2) Have your own side project
You need to realise that finding meaning in your job requires you to find meaning on a larger scale.
Start thinking about what is missing that your current job cannot offer.
Start creating something of your own and use that as a creative outlet. If you are thinking of something huge and earth-shattering, stop it!
The suggestion is to create something minor and simple to allow you an escape from your tasks and close the gap on areas your job is not able to fulfil.
This is not moonlighting, rather a hobby or personal agenda so that you can focus your energy on something altogether different.
For example: creating a fashion persona on your Instagram, doing charitable work, organising weekend parties, sports coaching, etc.
Practical Tip: Learn how to ideate.
Always be on the lookout and ask yourself this question: “What problems are there and what can I do to solve them?”
There is no idea more important than the other. Be focused on your personal development.
As a tool, use Business Model Canvas to formulate your side project or business model.
Run a small casual focus group (if necessary) to validate your idea. Or gather like-minded people to get the project going.
3) Dive deep into your professional vertical
No matter the industry you are in, with the presence of technology, everything seems to be moving and changing faster.
Innovation forces us to always be on our toes to grasp the newest industry practices and/or methods.
In your job vertical, ensure that you dive deeper into your role, industry and business unit to fully understand and experience the fullness of your profession.
It is always easy to stay on the surface and ignore the latest best practices or improved systems; it is easier to remain with the old.
However, this attitude will not get you far and, worst case scenario, will deem you obsolete.
For example: if you were an analyst, instead of merely looking at generic data and graphs, dive deep into quantitative/qualitative analysis, data modelling, high-level programming and the like.
Develop complementary skills to find more meaning in your job.
Practical Tip: Go online and read articles on job descriptions and required skills, shadow your superiors, always be ready to step out of your comfort zone and accept tasks that allow you to push your limits and obtain new and relevant skills.
Bonus: sacrifice and work [free of charge]
If you are really serious about finding meaning in your job, before you accept any full-time offers, take the opportunity to be exposed to multiple companies with the intention of gaining deeper insights into your prospected future role.
This is not promoting “free labour”, but is a focused strategy to obtain real-life experience and first-hand knowledge of your supposed dream job.
Remember to look beyond the mundane tasks and focus on the end result that will bring you fulfilment and significance in your job.
By implementing these practical methods, you are a step closer to falling in love and respecting your job; allowing you to find true meaning in your profession.
Daryll Tan is the Co-Founder and Director of OpenMinds™. He is actively involved in digital & business consultation, startup mentorship and venture building & partnerships. He is also a part-time digital trainer at TAP by IACT. As an entrepreneur, he strives to make a positive impact and create purposeful jobs. He also writes at www.darylltan.com. Engage with him on www.linkedin.com/in/darylltan and www.twitter.com/darylltan. To get in touch with Daryll, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org