Doing meaningful work? Doesn't everyone want that? But what does meaningful work actually entail? What do I want to achieve with my work? There is a good chance that everyone interprets meaningful work as something different. Some want to improve the world, others are looking for independence, or mainly want to be creative. Meaningful work says something about your work values.
Below are nine statements about the meaning of the work. Which one can you answer with a resounding "yes"?
Secretly, many people do want to become millionaires. This is evident from the fact that millions of lottery tickets are sold every month. Wealth gives status, freedom, and the opportunity to help other people. But unfortunately the chances of winning the jackpot in a lottery are very small. To become a millionaire, you would be better off starting your own company and making it a great success. But this requires a lot of perseverance and also a little luck. Perhaps there are work values other than wealth that you also find important.
Freedom is a strong work value for many people. The bottom line is that you like to go your own way. The reasons for this can vary greatly. Some people have always been set on having their own freedom. Because they might, for instance, have many hobbies in addition to working. The need for freedom can also be very important in a certain phase of life. Consider the parents of young children or if you need time to care for a family member. The need for freedom therefore partly determines whether you will work for an organisation where, for example, you can work from home a lot.
You can improve the world in many ways. This can be achieved by helping and caring for others. In education or healthcare, for example. But you can also work in a more activistic way. By fighting poverty for instance, or helping people in war-torn regions. Consider a position with an organisation such as Greenpeace or Doctors without Borders. By working on improving the world you won't get rich quickly. You mostly get satisfaction from the fact that by your actions you make the world a little bit fairer or nicer.
Some people find it important to be really good at something. They derive much satisfaction from being addressed as an expert or contributing with their knowledge or skills. It doesn't necessarily have to be the position you studied for at university. As plumber, dietitian, or mechanic, people are also dependent on your expertise.
Perhaps this is not very sexy or appealing. But this is an important work value for many people. And there is nothing wrong with striving for security. A permanent contract provides peace of mind. And that also includes things like a good retirement provision or sufficient savings. For many people security is a big driver when choosing a direction of study or in what kind of employer they choose. They would prefer to choose an education in which job security is high and subsequently choose to work for the government since that provides the biggest chance of a job for life.
There are people who need to be around people. They are the extroverts among us. They get energised through contact with others. As sales person, teacher, or team leader for example. People with this work value are not likely to work at home. They would much rather be with colleagues, loves client contact, or prefers working with friends. For them, choosing a career is determined by whether they will have enough contact with people.
Some people just can't sit still and are therefore completely unsuited to an office job where you spend a lot of time behind a computer. Luckily there are enough jobs for people who are not suited to an office job. For these jobs you can think of work where you are driving, working with your hands, operating machinery, are outside a lot, or working with animals. People with this work value can therefore end up in many different positions.
You know these people. People who prefer to be in control. They don't always have to be the nasty types. Some people naturally take the lead. For example, as captain of a sports team or board member in a social association. People with this work value like to take responsibility or struggle with having a boss. Or a bit of both.
Some people always have good ideas. Wanting to be creative doesn't always mean being good at painting or acting. Wanting to be creative mean that you want to work somewhere where you can use your imagination. For instance, for developing or improving services or products. But you can also use your creativity in sales and marketing.
One work value doesn't have to exclude another. It is even more likely that you have more than one value to work. In this way, a combination of work values can also be very decisive for the work environment or position that you will aspire to. Do you not have a clear preference, do many work values appeal to you? Then take the career motivation test and discover which work values you really find important and which careers go hand in hand with that.