In our modern world, our work means something more to us than it did to our ancestors. It’s not just about survival or necessity anymore, but also about finding a career with meaning that brings satisfaction to our lives. It’s not always easy to find fulfillment in a career, but here are some nudges in the right direction.
There are plenty of arguments out there for what a career should be—and fulfillment can mean different things to different people—but there many who feel stuck. Like work is only a grind that’s slowly wearing them down. If you feel stuck, or like your job isn’t enough, here are a few important things to keep in mind as you figure out what fulfilling work means to you:
It’s normal to be confused
There is a much higher number of career options this day and age then there were in the past. Don’t stress.
Filter through your tastes by listing everything you’ve ever enjoyed doing or making. You can’t do what you want until you know what you like.
Think, think, think
It will take time for you to determine what’s fulfilling to you, but it will take even longer if you don’t truly take the time to think on it.
Try new things
You’ll get to know yourself and find what you like faster by doing things you haven’t done before. Maybe you’ll find something new that you love, or maybe you’ll find that you were right all along.
Reflect on what makes people unhappy
Businesses and occupations are merely solutions to people’s problems. What can you do that would make people happy?
Lastly, find a way to be confident in yourself. Real confidence may carry you farther than any skill could. But you should still ask yourself: what are you good at? Take pride in yourself and what you are capable of. We all want to lead the most fulfilling lives possible, but satisfaction doesn’t just fall into your lap. You need to go out and find it.
In case you still find this insufficient, we’d suggest ‘How to Find Fulfilling Work‘ by Roman Krznaric. This book includes anecdotal case studies that show how people have organized their lives around fulfilling work. There are also exercises and quizzes designed to help readers define and reach career goals. What sets this book apart is its use of philosophy literature and history to create a wider frame of reference. Even those who are familiar with the self-help genre will find fresh perspectives in stories from the lives of Michelangelo, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie, Henry David Thoreau, Zorba the Greek and other historical and literary figures.
Author Roman Krznaric begins by listing five dimensions of meaningful work: money, status, passion, making a difference and using our talents. He then examines each dimension in detail and points out some of the hazards that come from being motivated by money and status rather than more intrinsic motivators, like the desire to make a difference in the world. “We have entered a new age of fulfillment, in which the great dream is to trade up from money to meaning,” he writes.