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10 tips for defining and achieving ‘meaningful work’ in your career

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

In 2022, employers are still feeling the effects of the major layoff as workers continue to quit their jobs en masse. Research points to burnout and dissatisfaction as two of the main reasons people leave their organization in favor of more ‘meaningful work’.

If you want to define and achieve meaningful work for yourself, read on for some key insights from the members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs. Below, 10 of them share how their definitions of “meaningful work” have changed during their careers and how other professionals can achieve their own version of meaning in current or future jobs.

1. Focus on serving and helping your team

Before I had a team, meaningful work was about doing the right thing for me. Therefore, I would make decisions based on what I thought was best for my growth and success at the time. My definition of “meaningful work” has changed now that I have a team to support. Now that I have a team, I make decisions based on my team’s best interests rather than what’s best for me. Meaningful work now means I’m focused on serving and helping my team. If my team is happy and has the resources to succeed, I am happy. – John Hall, Calendar

2. Follow your passion

My definition of meaningful work has changed a lot over the course of my career. As a student, I thought meaningful work was about getting good grades and moving on to a prestigious job as a doctor or lawyer. Now, given my current job, I think meaningful work is about doing something that you are passionate about and that will make a difference in the world. I think other professionals can achieve meaningful work this way by doing something they are passionate about and that will make a difference. It varies from person to person and is different at every stage. What may be meaningful to me may not necessarily be meaningful to others. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

3. Bet on empathy

Meaningful work can happen in almost any industry if you focus on empathy and caring for people. That’s a change from my early thinking, where non-profit or mission-driven work was “meaningful” while other models were less so. It’s a fact that someone needs what you offer, so why not offer it in a way that focuses on solving problems and building relationships? If you do that, you and your team will get so much more satisfaction from your workday. This shift in perspective can help entrepreneurs who feel lost in the middle of what they do to find greater job satisfaction. I understand that workplaces can sometimes become combative or negative, but the responsibility to steer the ship in a new direction starts at the top. Your team will pick up on your new culture. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

4. Look to add value

When it comes to meaningful work, a priority for me is creating products that really help improve the quality of life for our customers. While other companies in our category may focus on finding high-margin products to add to their offerings, we instead try to find ways to add more value to our customers’ lives. In the early days, the priority was to generate enough cash flow to survive and then scale up. While delivering a better night’s sleep has also been a core aspect of our business, as we’ve grown we’ve been able to focus more on ways to improve the customer experience after purchase with products they’ll love for years (or decades). come. – Firas Kittanehu, Amerisleep mattress

5. Find work that encourages growth

What I have discovered during my career is that meaningful work is relative to the individual. While some may derive a sense of purpose and value from one type of work, it can make other people feel like they are totally wasting their time and talents. Meaningful work for me comes down to growth as a person. It is not always possible to do work that saves lives or makes a huge change in the well-being of the world. Because of this reality, finding work that helps me develop the qualities I want to be known for is key to feeling like it makes sense. If I don’t grow as an individual, I find it almost impossible to feel that my work makes sense. Standing still isn’t an option, so avoiding it makes me feel like I’m doing meaningful work. – Richard Fong, Insured standard

6. Determine the impact your work has on others

The meaning of “meaningful work” has changed throughout my career. When I first started, I had a very limited definition of what it meant to have a meaningful job. I thought if you made money, you were doing meaningful work. But as I started learning about the world and how people in different countries live and work, my definition of meaningful work changed. What’s more important than making money? What could be more important than taking care of your family? It’s not about the “job”; it’s about the impact your work has on others. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

7. Remember Small Actions Count

I used to think that meaningful work was about big actions and results. But now I realize that it’s the little things we do every day that make up the bulk of our work. It’s the little things we do to help others, make someone’s day better or make a positive change in the world. These are the things that add up and make a difference. I’ve seen success in my business adding minor feature changes or improving customer service in some way. These little things make a big impact over time and make more sense than any major success. – Syed Balkan, WPBeginner

8. Align your work with your values

My definition of “meaningful work” has changed significantly since I looked at the world through the rose-colored glasses of a recent graduate. Meaningful work doesn’t have to mean saving the world, curing cancer, or inventing something new. Professionals can achieve meaningful work if they do something that aligns with their values ​​and does not compromise their integrity. Another important thing to remember is that you don’t have to work for peanuts to do meaningful work. Meaningful work and money are not mutually exclusive. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

9. Determine what makes customers happy

To me, meaningful work has come to mean how we help people and other businesses succeed. It’s not just about what I’ve accomplished; it’s about satisfied customers who find our product useful in their lives. Early on in my career, I realized that my employer did not disclose what happened when the product left the office. Did the customer like it? Did they send it back? The information we had was included in the assigned task. This was very demotivating because it just became a job. But if you are aware of the impact your work has on others and how it actually makes their lives easier, your work will change from ‘just a job’ to something meaningful. – Benjamin Rojas, All in one SEO

10. Make time more meaningful

Before I became a mother, meaningful work for me was working around the clock, making sure I was always productive and busy. Now that I’m a mom and busy like a bee, my time is more important to me than anything else. Conversations at work take on meaning. The lessons I learn from other people are already achievements for me. They give me life. In addition, I realized that meaningful work is not just about the type of work I have or the number of hours I work, but about the things I pick up after each working day (lessons, relationships, rest and fun). – Daisy Jing, Banned

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