Is This Work Meaningful? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

work in progressMeaningful work can come and go. Some find it in their first job and others are near retirement and still haven’t found it. Still others find it and then something changes and once again they need to re-evaluate what meaningful work is for them.

There are many steps taken to find meaningful work. Each job you have gives you clues as to what really meaningful work is for you.

Think back to when your work was meaningful and see if the following questions would be answered by “yes”. Would you add any questions to the list?

Ask yourself these 10 questions and any others that are important to you about your current position. Some may be more important to you than others. What are the questions you would want to answer about a new position to insure you will have meaningful work?

  1. Is the work so interesting that at times I lose track of time because I am so engrossed? You be the judge here. Time can pass quickly for other reasons than interesting engrossing work. Usually someone who is passionate about what he/she is doing gets this engaged and interested.
  2. How frequently does the work feel meaningful and fulfilling to me? Every job has some routine “chores” that have to be done but it is easier to do them with meaningful and fulfilling work to look forward to. What percentage of your time is spent doing ‘chores”?
  3. Am I using my highest strengths to do the work? We all have many strengths but some are just easier and more enjoyable for us than others. When you use the strengths that are easy and fun for you the work gets done better and faster.
  4. Is the work I do serving a higher purpose? Meaningful work often is work that is connected to your values (what is most important to you.) Meaningful work may bring in a nice paycheck but the most important part of the work is not what is in it for you but how it impacts others.
  5. Do I feel connected to that higher purpose? You may be working at a place that has a higher purpose but it is not one that is important to you. You can see the value of your work but there is other work you feel more passionate about.
  6. Am I eager to come to work each day? One of the first signals that your work is not satisfying you is when you are actually dreading going into work each day. It happens to many people and yet they continue to force themselves to stay in the job and to go in every day.
  7. Working well togetherDo I work with people who share my values and value me and my work? If you are working with people who do not share your values or do not value you and your work, you are probably at risk especially if their values conflict with yours. Companies want their employees to be comfortable working together and being a cohesive team. Sometimes personalities get in the way of teamwork. This can make the workplace intolerable for everyone.
  8. Do I feel supported by the management of the business? If you are left adrift by management it can be very scary. Regular feedback from your manager about your work and the strategy of the company is important for you to feel part of the team. Without that you may be at risk without knowing it.
  9. Is the work environment conducive to my doing my best work? Years ago they allowed people to smoke in the office. It did not bother me much but a friend had real trouble breathing and complained. She was harassed and made fun of for voicing her opinion. That certainly did not allow her to do her best work. She resigned. The environment can have unhealthy elements, noise, distrust between team members. There are a lot of different attributes of a toxic environment. Can you change the environment? Sometimes you can.
  10. Continuous learningAm I learning and growing in this position? To be really engaged in your work there has to be something that you are learning. Learning and growing provides the excitement that keeps you moving forward. Without it meaningful work will become less engaging. Be sure to find a learning area in your work.

Coaching Opportunity

Use the above 10 questions as an assessment of your job. How did you do? If something is missing from your current job or if you are at a point in your life that you want to find work that is more meaningful and fulfilling, I would love to coach you. I can help you to either improve the job you currently have or find something new that is exactly the right job for you. Imagine how you will feel when you wake up each morning looking forward to work! Create meaning, satisfaction and fulfillment in your life and your work. It can happen for you. Just call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at asparker@asparker.com

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