Many years ago when my children were school aged, I worked with children with disabilities at their school. People would often comment how patient I was, how they admired me for doing something worthwhile. I used to say that I was no saint. I did feel good that I was doing a job that was valued by others and seen as being worthwhile.
Ask people what they want in a job, and meaningfulness is often ranked their number one priority — above promotions, income, job security, and hours.
Many people feel their jobs don't matter and don't have a lasting impact on others.
According to surveys, there are jobs that are highly meaningful to virtually anyone who holds them: eg. kindergarten teachers, surgeons, firefighters, ambulance workers, midwives, adult literacy teachers.
They all make an important difference in the lives of others. They hold a purpose for the people doing the jobs and for everyone else who admires what they do.
Fast forward to the last eleven years where I own and manage a book and gift store. I tell myself I am helping people with their reading, helping customers to buy quirky presents but in reality in this consumer obsessed society I am asking to people to buy more things they want but don't need.
I used to feel a bit embarrassed when I told people what I did.
One day a friend told me she felt I was wonderful for running a small business when I had a mental illness and I would encourage and offer hope to other people.
Often the chance to help others can be what makes our work worthwhile. I had never viewed my work as encouraging others and offering hope.
I think if I see a value and a purpose in what I do, others will too.
What about you, do you value what you do whether paid or unpaid?
Do you look to others to find worth in what you do? Why?
Is it important that others see your work as being worthwhile? Why?
Does having a job that helps others seem more meaningful to you?
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