Finding meaningful work

Finding meaningful work

Want to wake up every morning full of energy, excited to face all the challenges the new day will bring? Or is it just a utopia and we’d better get used to the fact that working life is and will be, well, let’s say rather shitty?

Based on my experience both of the above can be true. I have had my share of downsides, rainy days and even despair but also a lot of glorious moments, times filled with hard work, joy and awesome team spirit. I have been privileged to experience a wide variety of different kinds of jobs from cleaning, newspaper delivering and telesales to management and entrepreneurship. Here are my key learnings to finding your meaningful work.

  1. It is ok not to have meaningful work at hand

Yes, that is true too! Work is often a big part of our lives, but it does not necessarily have to be the most meaningful one. It is ok to have a job you like but maybe do not love. On average we spend more than 40 years in working life: there is definitely room for periods where work plays a minor role. And as importantly, if you find your work meaningless maybe you need to stop and take time to see the full picture: if you think cleaning public toilets is meaningless work, think again. 

  1. What we consider meaningful varies at times, and that is ok

There is time to put all you got into work. But there can also be times when most of your energy goes somewhere else. When kids are small it is ok and preferable to put more emphasis on them. Or something else life-shaking happens. At those times it might be that no work on earth seems meaningful, since there are more important things to do. And it is ok.

  1. Being passionate is not a must

The Internet is full of stories of how we have to be passionate, find what we love, and afterwards all skies would be open for us. Bullshit. What one needs more to succeed is hard work, perseverance and ability to stand boredom. Yes, you read correctly. Nothing comes easy, and there is a proverb: ”overnight success usually takes six years”. So, determination beats passion. But – must be said: passion definitely helps!

  1. Stop thinking hard

At times we can hear people talking about how they’ve been trying extremely hard to think of what ”meaningful work” actually means for them. How about: stop thinking, and start doing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know for sure what you want to do. Just keep on working. If you end up realizing you are in the  wrong place, embrace the learning and move on. You are much more likely to find meaningful work, your passion and have a happy, fulfilled life by trial and error than by sitting on a couch thinking.

Good luck with your journey towards Monday mornings worth waiting for!

Mervi Lamminen is a lucky one who lives her dream by helping people to prevent burnouts, and loves Mondays. And puppies. Especially puppies.

She is also the founder and CEO of Auntie,