Most people will work over 80,000 hours in their lifetime or about 1/3 of their life. How sad that so many people find work unfulfilling and a chore. It doesn’t have to be that way.
People are looking for their jobs to have a deeper purpose or provide meaning to fulfill them. But the truth is your job doesn’t have to be your passion, it can be the way you fund your passion.
“Work is the gas in my car but it’s not the journey that I’m driving.”
As for meaning, anyone can make their job have meaning, even in the most mundane jobs.
“What if there was a way to take a job that you don’t like but can’t leave, and make staying more bearable or, potentially, even deeply rewarding and meaningful? What if there was a way to teach yourself to love the job you’re with? Not because it has changed, but because you have.
There’s this weird, counterintuitive thing we do when we’re working at a life-sucking job. Instead of becoming aggressively proactive in the name of making it as good as we can, we get relentlessly good at making it as bad as we can. We often have no idea how complicit we’ve become, that we’re actually a big part of the problem.”
“Work can make people miserable. Losing work can make people pretty unhappy, too.” Michael F Steger
“If your job is soul-sucking, and you can’t change jobs, it’s time to reframe how you think about it. Don’t waste any more of your precious life being miserable in your job. Either change what you experience or change the frame you bring to the experience.”
Ask yourself how your work is helping others, regardless of how insignificantly or indirectly. As you focus on others, you can reconnect with the meaning and purpose of your work.
Here’s what Airam Gomez (our August 2021, MKRO Kindness Grant winner) said about her job at a fast food restaurant –
“I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, and this actually led me to my career choice of nursing – I’m starting my second year of university. I still do strive to have a positive impact, but I also realize it’s never too early to find ways to do so and that even the “little” things make a difference- holding the door open, asking someone how their day went, or just smiling at someone. It’s why I loved working at fast food: I got to interact with others and had the opportunity to make their day better with every contact, whether through a smile or paying for desserts to anonymously add to customers’ orders.”
Another example is the person who was working as an accountant at a community college. She found her work very meaningful not because she kept the accounts balanced, but because she felt her work allowed others to advance themselves through education.
When we view the every day as an opportunity rather than a drudgery to make it through, we have already succeeded in elevating our every days, and when such a practice becomes habituated, more extraordinary moments are savored each and every day. – Shannon Ables
Find ways to give purpose or meaning to your job. Some people, “may derive meaning not from the job itself, but from the fact that it allows them to provide for their families and pursue non-work activities that they enjoy. Others may find meaning in being able to advance themselves and be the best they can be. People with a craftsmanship orientation take pride in performing the job well. Those with a service orientation find purpose in the ideology or belief system behind their work. Still others extract meaning from the sense of kinship they experience with co-workers.” – Douglas Lepisto
If you learn to find meaning in your job, it will serve you well all your life.
Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness? Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.
Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it? Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 and let us help you spread kindness.