Career Topic of the Decade: Meaningful Work

I’ve made up my mind. I am selecting “Meaningful Work” as the Topic of the Decade.

I hear more clients express a longing for meaningful work than any other career desire (even more than money), and this has been reaching a crescendo for the past few years.  Yes, I said longing. The definition of longing, as quoted on the internet, is ‘a prolonged unfulfilled desire or need.’

On suite101.com, Jerrry Lopper talks about creating meaning in a job in his blogpost entitled A Path to Happiness Through Meaningful Work. It’s worth a quick read because Jerry puts meaningful work in the context of recent happiness research.

I predict that Meaningful Work will be the topic of the decade or perhaps longer. By then maybe, just maybe, leaders will understand the unprecedented importance of retaining quality employees by providing them with enriching experiences to grow, learn and change.

And by 2015, when the job market turns around and organizations are scrambling to lure seasoned, wise workers along with fresh new minds to help them remain competitive, the light bulb might go off in the minds of managers that most people are multi-dimensional and intelligent creatures who have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Could this mean that there are aspects to their lives other than work? Oh my!

Golly, if managers allowed employees some flexibility in their schedules, is it possible that a certain amount of respect and loyalty could return to the workplace?

Even in this tough economy, while American families are struggling to pay their monthly rent or mortgage and put food on the table, many individuals are courageous and driven enough to pursue meaningful work. Why? Because it’s an urgent factor for a fulfilled life.

Take Lynette Benton, for example. The opening sentence in her More Magazine article entitled After Burnout, A New Career Helping Writers is

I loved what my work had been, but not what it had become. So, I decided to leave altogether.

In her highly stressful position, Lynette found that she was not only becoming psychologically exhausted, she was experiencing worrisome physical symptoms. Her mind and body were telling her it was time to move on.

In Lynette’s case, the stress of her job pushed her towards finding another path. Not necessarily a new path, but one that had been waiting within her for years. (You can read Lynette’s blog at lynettebentonwriting.com )

It’s not always stress that pushes one towards a more rewarding or meaningful career; sometimes it’s job boredom or the ignorance of a boss who isn’t paying attention.

Is this part of a manager’s job?  You bet it is. Understanding the people that work for you and taking time to find out what their career goals are is one of the most important parts of a manager’s job.  If one is a creative thinker, there are usually several ways to build development into a person’s job at any given time.

Sometimes, without any external provocation, a person just reaches a simple yet profound realization that there is something else they just have to pursue in regards to their career.

And they do it.

You can bet there will be more info on the Topic of the Decade – Meaningful Work –  on this blog.

Any ideas? Please email them to me at tdp@workstrategies.com.

Thanks for listening.

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4 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Terry Del Percio and chr!s, Christopher Bell III. Christopher Bell III said: RT @WorkIntegrity: Career Topic of the Decade: Meaningful Work: http://wp.me/pmXxX-4M […]

  2. Hi Terry – happy to find you!
    Meaning, happiness, these words seems lost to most these days when speaking about work. Words like, “make the best of it, hanging in there, could be worse” are more like it.
    I second your mantra of the decade, lest a whole generation be doomed to making the best of it!
    Checking you out on Twitter next,
    Best, Louise
    PS Can we add meaningful work where people treat each with kindness and respect?

  3. Great post. I found a great non-profit that has been providing online education to adult jobseekers in 60 IT certifications in (Microsoft,Cisco, Oracle, Sun, A+, Net+, Security+ etc.) and Business (including Project Management certification) at http://www.nefuniversity.org.

  4. […] touch at the heart of meaningful work, here is a well-known story*. Three people are smashing boulders during the workday. Each is asked, […]

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