A Job Can Provide Meaning, If It Involves …
|January 31, 2014||Posted by Staff under Health|
This 2014 excerpt of Huffington Post, Jan 30, is by Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.
What makes a job meaningless? People struggle to find meaning when they lack autonomy, variety, challenge, performance feedback, and the chance to work on a whole product or service from start to finish. As important as these factors are, though, there’s another that matters more: making an important difference in the lives of others one on one or making society a better place for all.
There are steps we can take to make jobs more meaningful — for ourselves and others.
In many cases, our jobs do have an impact, but we’re too distant from the end users of our products and services. So when we see the beneficiaries of our jobs, we find greater meaning. The greatest untapped source of motivation is a sense of service to others.
Of course, some jobs are simply not designed to have a major impact on others. In these situations, people can take initiative to alter their own roles. This is job crafting — adding, emphasizing, revising, delegating, or minimizing tasks and interactions in pursuit of greater meaning. For example, hospital cleaners who lack patient contact stepped up to provide emotional support to patients and their families, and technology associates began volunteering for mentoring, teaching, and training roles. When people craft their jobs, they become happier and more effective.
Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.
Ed. Notes: Is this a bandaid to a deeper problem with jobs? And whatever may be wrong with jobs, would all those issues go away if people were in a position to do what they love, with whomever they want, for as long as they like? And if people got an extra income apart from their labor — a Citizen’s Dividend from the socially-generated value of land and resources and government-granted privileges — would that give everyone the leverage they need to negotiate the ideal job for them? Probably. Don’t you think?