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Finding Meaning and Purpose in Your Work

Blog / April 4, 2019

We’ve all heard the statistics—you’ll spend more of your waking hours at work than at home with your loved ones. Which isn’t terrible if you really love your job. But for the rest of us—yikes, that’s a scary thought! But what if you can train yourself to love your job? If you really believe that your job is a calling, a contribution you make that truly makes the world a better place, then hanging out at work for 8 to 10 hours a day doesn’t seem so bad. Here’s how to find meaning and purpose in your job. 

The day one approach 

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. It sounds cheesy, but it’s actually a pretty empowering statement. Drew Dudley is the founder of Day One Leadership, which focuses on helping individuals and companies increase their leadership capabilities. In addition to being an entrepreneur, recovering alcoholic, university professor, and TED talk speaker, he coaches people to believe they control who they are every day. He claims that we all have the ability and the obligation to make a positive impact on the people and world around us.

In other words, although you may not be thrilled with the menial tasks you have to complete at work each day, tackle them with the best attitude. Think about how your work impacts the rest of your company and those around you. Are they relying on your hard work and meticulous output before they can get started on their responsibilities? If nothing else, consider how the smile on your face and the way you treat people might be the highlight of their day. 

Glorify your objective 

Another option in your work is to assume that your job has the greatest objective in the world. Dave Ulrich, of the Ross School of Business School, uses the example of the two bricklayers. When asked what they’re doing, one replies that he’s laying bricks. The second replies that he’s building a cathedral for God. Envision the grander mission you’re serving, not simply that you’re laying bricks. You’ll find more meaning in them, take them more seriously, and find greater reward. 

Find the sweet spot intersection

There are things you do well, that people probably commend you for and thank you for. And then there are things that you enjoy doing. According to Elizabeth Crook, CEO of Orchard Advisors, you should be working in that sweet spot where the two lists intersect—activities you do well and that you enjoy. Find something that gives you energy and figure out how you can do it in a way that’s helpful to other people. How can you make money from those things?


Finding meaningful work is easier if you have someone you can regularly touch base with. It might be a spouse, a colleague, or a mentor. Let them guide you and advise you. A recruiter is great at this! For more tips on how to find a job in a field you’ll love, check out our website at