...something many of us strive for – that the work we spend large portions of our daily lives sweating over has some intrinsic meaning and satisfaction beyond being a mechanism to pay our bills and put food on the table. That it is part of thriving not just surviving. I've been thinking about this on and off recently as my current job comes to an inflection point, and I've settled on a number of lenses through which to view this:
- Future: Do I believe in the vision of what the organisation I work for wants to achieve and my role in achieving it?
- Present: Do I find meaning and satisfaction in the individual tasks that make up the daily grind (not all of them, obviously!), and can I draw a clear line between them and how they work to achieve the vision mentioned before?
- Past: When I look back, do I gain satisfaction from what my work has achieved and enabled, as well as the experience of doing the work itself?
- Values: Do the values of the organisation I work for align with mine, or do they conflict?
There are obviously other ways of looking at this but hopefully these lenses will inform my choices and perspective!
In the past I've definitely been guilty of putting undue pressure on my work to bring me life satisfaction, as opposed to just being one component part. The pressure or expectation for this in academia has traditionally been high – after all, isn't your specialist subject your passion, so shouldn't spending all your waking hours on it bring you joy?! I never fully bought into this and my sideways move into research support has further helped draw the lines between work and the rest of my life... but I still sometimes have a nagging itch that my work could/should be able to achieve and influence more in terms of tangible societal outcomes.
Still, a little restlessness can help drive one forward – as long as it doesn't lead to complete cynicism and dissatisfaction!
Anyway, enough for now – back to (meaningful) work I go!
Entry 84 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!