When people ask you if you enjoy your job, do you tell them the truth? Let’s face it, most of us don’t enjoy our jobs, and it’s not always easy to find a better one.
Most jobs aren’t interesting because they’re not meaningful. When a job is interesting and engaging, you’re more likely to enjoy it.
If you’re a car salesman you may hate your job, because of the stress of pressuring others to purchase a vehicle. If you own your own business, you probably enjoy your job more because you’re making creative choices that directly impact the success of your business.
Making your job more meaningful, is all about creativity, autonomy, becoming an expert, and building lasting relationships.
In this article, I’ll discuss 5 ways to make your job more meaningful.
Find ways to make your job engaging
Research shows that when an activity is meaningful, a person will spend more time doing it. For example, if you exercise without a purpose you’re less likely to continue the activity, but if you exercise to compete, play, or accomplish goals, you’re more likely to sustain the activity longer and more consistently.
Making our jobs more meaningful may take some creativity, but it can make us better and more productive at work.
Become an expert at what you do
Becoming an expert at your job can be as easy as listening to podcasts, reading a book, enrolling in a course, or subscribing to a research journal.
Pretend for a moment that you’re the number one expert for what you do. Think of what you have to do to become that person and what inventions you can create that will change how people do your job.
Start by making a list of what you can do now, and write goals for yourself. Share your ideas with your coworkers and ask for their input.
Having a greater knowledge and understanding of your job will help you be a better leader and will help you find ways to make your job more efficient and successful.
For example, a professional video editor’s job may become dull if they’re doing the same edits day after day, but if they take extra time on finding ways to edit quicker or take a course that expands their skills they may be able to start a side business and take on new clients to grow their personal business.
You can also become an expert when you are seeking truth. Sometimes we do our job a specific way because that’s the way it’s always been done. By seeking truth, we can understand new ways to do the same job in a manner that’s less complicated.
Eat lunch with your coworkers
One of the best ways to make your job more meaningful is to have good relationships with the people at your work. Having a good social environment can actually contribute to your health.
According to a study from the university of Oxford, “Researchers found that people who eat socially are more likely to feel better about themselves and have a wider social network capable of providing social and emotional support.”
Make a goal to talk with someone new or have lunch with someone new. Offer to buy a coworker lunch. Show interest in their lives and really try to listen. The more you show interest in others, the more interest they’ll have in you.
Next, ask them to spend time with you outside of work. Get to know them on a different level by going on a hike or inviting them to dinner. As you grow your relationships with others, your relationship tree will grow taller and taller.
Now that you’re an expert, start motivating others to become an expert. Ask your coworker to take a course with you or push them to develop their talents and skills. See if they want to start a skills workshop or course with you to help others improve their skills.
Change up your commute
Changing how you get to work is a simple way to make your job more meaningful. Instead of driving, ride a bike or carpool with a coworker. If you’re unable to ride a bike start a new exercise routine before and after work. Start with small goals to make this more attainable.
You can also put your bike in your car and ride your bike at a location near your work. Changing your daily scenery or exercising before work can have a huge impact on your work performance. If you ride your bike home, you’ll be more rejuvenated and awake.
Most of us don’t enjoy our jobs but complaining usually makes matters worst. Instead, think about how you can make your job more meaningful by socializing more, getting involved with your community, becoming an expert, and making daily exercise a priority.
As you change these habits and start focusing on how you can use yourself as a tool to help others, you’ll find more purpose in your work and your life.
David is the lead editor of OT Focus. He has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 2013. He specializes in acute care, hand therapy, and ergonomics.