If you’re in a job that lacks meaning, whether that’s because the values of your company are in opposition to your own, you aren’t appreciated, or you aren’t challenged to do great work, then it’s time to start thinking about the next job. But you don’t have to wait until you you get a new gig to find more purpose in your work. There are things you can start doing today to bring more meaning to your career without changing jobs.
3 WAYS TO BRING MORE MEANING TO YOUR CAREER WITHOUT CHANGING JOBS
1 | REMEMBER WHO YOU HELP
Your work benefits someone. If it’s a boss you resent, it will just make you even more mad to think about that, so dig deeper until you can find someone you care about who benefits from your work.
A co-worker? A client or customer, even if you never see them face-to-face? Your kid? (Yourself?)
When you don’t feel motivated to work, remember this person. Imagine the good that your work does for them. Find your love for them. Dedicate your work to them on the days when you just. don’t. wanna.
2 | STRENGHTEN RELATIONSHIPS
We are hardwired for connection, which makes disconnects with people at work feel bad. You don’t need to be besties with everyone you work with, but put some effort into strengthening your personal and/or professional relationships with people at work.
You could send holiday cards, remind your cubicle neighbor that Anthropologie is having a sale, ask the receptionist to join you for lunch, or help champion a colleague’s project that you believe in.
In Maya Angelou’s words, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Make people feel valued in ways that are authentic to you.
3 | LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Humans love to learn. We love challenges, puzzles, and the feeling of growth associated with learning. Look around your job and see where there are opportunities for you to learn new things.
That might mean serving on a new committee, learning a new software program, taking over someone’s duties while they are out sick or on vacation, or creating new systems or workflows. You don’t have to win a Nobel Peace Prize here; even organizing an old drawer of files can perk you up. The novelty factor will help to stave off boredom, too.
What’s the first thing you’ll do to bring more meaning to your career?