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4 Steps to Find Meaningful Work For Yourself

4 Steps to Find Meaningful Work For Yourself

Many people dream of one day finding the perfect job for themselves. But meaningful work can mean various things to various people. Maybe you are looking for the best job for your skill set, a job where you can grow, a job where you can help others, or even something else. Whether you just graduated from high school or college or you have been searching for meaningful work for years, there are ways for you to find meaningful work for yourself. Here are four steps to help you figure out the perfect balance.

1. What do you love to do?

If you are looking for meaningful work, then you may want to start off by looking at your passions. What are you truly passionate about? What makes you excited to think about? What makes you not dread going into work every Monday?

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Different people have a passion for different things. There is no right and wrong for everyone. You might love to do software work. You might love engineering. You might love a certain organization. You might love to help animals.

Find what you love to do, and see how you can possibly make a living out of it. Some passions may mean that you can survive off of the amount that you bring in, whereas other passions may mean that you will have to work another job on the side as well.

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2. Are you looking for something that you have to love?

You might think that in order for work to be meaningful, you have to really enjoy it. However, meaningful work can also mean that your work allows you to do what you want to do.

This could mean that your job offers you plenty of vacation time to do what you want in your spare time. Maybe your job has a certain benefit that you have always wanted. Maybe your job just means that you have time to do what you want in your spare time or allows you to have a good work-life balance while providing for the necessities in your life.

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Another way to look at this is that you may not specifically enjoy the work that you do, but you really believe in your organization and its activities as the end goal.

3. How could you help? 

If you are looking for meaningful work, then you should look into the skills that you currently have and see how you can apply your skills to something that you want to do. You might also want to look into gaining additional skills so that you can obtain the meaningful work that you really want.

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Are you a good listener? A good writer? Maybe you are great at networking and could help with fund-raising efforts for your organization. Think about what you are good at and how you could put your skills to use in a specific type of position or at a certain company.

4. Test it out.

If you are unsure about whether you want to work at a certain job or not, then you may want to test out whether or not the work is right for you. Even if you have been dreaming about something for years or decades, you won’t know if you will truly fit well with the work or not if you don’t try it first.

You may want to do your research or even try volunteering at the organization. However, keep in mind that volunteering and actually working at an organization are not always the same, and you may have a different experience if you were employed there.

What type of meaningful work are you looking for? Have you found your meaningful work? If yes, how? Please share in the comments below.

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Michelle Schroeder

Michelle is a personal finance expert. She earns $1 million per year while sailing.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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