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Putting meaning back into your job

Given the gloomy outlook, are you struggling to maintain or restore your motivation at work? Author Bea Boccalandro suggests several methods for putting meaning back into your work – without having to quit your current job.

Based on

Do Good at Work :  How Simple Acts of Social Purpose Drive Success and Well-being
Bea Boccalandro, (Morgan James Publishing, 2020).

1. Put the spark back into your tasks  

Is your agenda full of tasks that don’t or no longer inspire you? It doesn’t have to be this way. If you inject a dose of altruism into them, you’ll find yourself much happier to carry them out. 

  • Kill two birds with one stone: bundle some “good deeds” into your work. For example: in the US, the UK, and Canada, window cleaners in hospitals dress up in superhero costumes to amuse patients in the children’s wards. 
  • Incorporate useful community services into your products. For example: a surfboard manufacturer fits his surfboards with sensors that gather data on the state of the sea. The manufacturer thus does his bit for ocean preservation. 
  • Link a professional goal to a donation to a cause. For example: every day your team completes all its safety targets, the logistics manager of a factory donates €10 (taken from his department’s budget) to a rehabilitation charity. 
  • Develop a new socially beneficial skill within the framework of your job. For example: get Red Cross Health and Safety at Work training so you can step in should there be an emergency at work. 

2. Rejuvenate human relations 

Make sure empathy is at the heart of all your relations with your team. You will create a virtuous circle that will spread throughout your organization – and beyond. 

  • Lend a hand to colleagues out in the field when they are overwhelmed by work, even (especially) if you are the boss. 
  • Create a climate of sincere kindness. Don’t prevent people from expressing their feelings, don’t punish those who falter for a moment when faced with difficulties. Set an example by allowing your weaknesses to show. 
  • Manage softly – avoid apathy that can provoke stress and harsh reactions. Just be human. 
  • Promote fairness and diversity. Don’t let prejudice (which may be involuntary and unconscious) interfere with your assessment of people. 
  • Help your employees to advance in their career. Get them to take a good look at their real motivations – even if such introspection doesn’t necessarily advance your interests. 
  • Reach out beyond your team. Don’t overlook your relations with others with whom you’re in contact. 
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Marianne Gerard
Published by Marianne Gerard
Marianne graduated from HEC in 1998 and is now a freelance journalist specializing in management and higher education. What really fires her up is the human dimension and she is c taking a psychology course at Rennes 2 University.