Over the past three mornings I have been engaged in an exercise aimed at increasing my levels of joy. What I’ve found is that it has increased my levels of creativity. So much so that I’ve managed to build the outline of a 9 month development programme aimed at building meaning in work.
Meaning is a critical aspect of eudaimonic fulfillment and impacts our attitude to how we approach our lives on a day to day basis. As such, it has a huge impact on the satisfaction and meaning we derive from, for instance, our work.
Based on a Gallup study of a representative sample of more than 8,000 American workers, people who love their jobs:
• Use their strengths every day
• Feel that they are an important part of their organisation’s future.
• Are surrounded by colleagues who care about their overall well-being.
• Are excited about the future because of a leader’s enthusiasm and vision.
As it’s impossible to find such a job advertised on a job site, it’s critical to develop skills and tools for individuals to create these jobs for themselves. And that’s what the Eureka moment was about.
Amy Wrzesniewski, professor of organisational behavior at the Yale School of Management, says people reinvent their jobs by exercising the little bit of control they have at work. Through what she calls job crafting, people can reshape and redefine their jobs. In a paper she co-wrote, she says you can use your knowledge of what you do best to choose “to do fewer, more, or different tasks than prescribed in the formal job.” Changing the quality and amount of interaction with your colleagues, she says, can bring a renewed sense of belonging and purpose.
A LOVE-WORTHY job isn’t just for a privileged few — say, those who went to red brick universities or public schools. With a deep understanding of what drives you and what you are best at, you can make almost any job more lovable and more MEANINGFUL.
Small tweeks matter. Do you know what your strengths are? Are you using them to best effect in your work? Does your boss know what your strengths are? How can you tweek your work to play to your strengths and make it more meaningful?