A recent study by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace found that 95 percent of human resources managers at companies of 100 to more than 2,500 employees cited burnout as a big problem — with, according to them, no easily seen solution.
And while they struggle to find a solution on the institutional level, I do have a solution for you, on the personal level. This solution can help you reduce the likelihood you will suffer from burnout, by shifting your focus. You see, if your only focus in your career is how many dollars you can stack, the work can start to get to you after a while. You can end up burned out and broken, feeling as if your work is empty and that you’re wasting your time. And that’s a recipe for a joyless life. That’s why it’s important to have some motivation for the work you do, beyond the monetary compensation.
So the solution is to choose to find meaning in what you do for a living. This is an excellent way to improve your work satisfaction, overall happiness, and quality of life. Finding meaning can help you feel a sense of fulfillment far beyond how many dollars you earn.
Finding meaning in your work isn’t about doing only a certain type of work or reaching only a certain level on the job. It is not wishful thinking. This is not something reserved only for the talented elite, people who say the money doesn’t matter, or those who have achieved everything else in life. This is for anyone, at any level, who wants to increase happiness while working.
You see, you get to attach the meaning to the work. If the work you are doing is something good, something helpful, and something positive, then there is meaning in that work. You just have to be able to see it.
If you are the crossing guard standing in the rain as children walk to school in the morning, then your work isn’t just about whatever you earn while getting your shoes wet. You are protecting children and keeping them safe as they start their day.
If you are a front desk receptionist at a hospital, then you aren’t just someone who hands out badges. Your smile and greeting help to bring comfort to patients. The information you share can ease stress and anxiety at a person’s most vulnerable time.
If you are a personal trainer, you aren’t just teaching people how to do squats. You are helping them improve their lives, feel better about themselves, and maybe even live longer.
If you are a banker, then you aren’t just charging interest on loans. You are helping people take care of their families, build their businesses, and fulfill their dreams.
You do it by looking beyond the surface task you are doing, and start to look at how what you are doing helps someone. What does your work really do? What benefit does it really provide? And why is this important to you? How does this align with your values?
When you begin to attach meaning to your work in this way, then you see how what you do matters. You can begin to see yourself in a better light, as you realize you are making a valuable contribution in the world and to the lives of others.
Seeing your work in this way can inspire you and even refresh your perspective. You no longer feel jaded or as if what you are doing doesn’t matter. You find more joy in your work, and you may even see a bigger vision for yourself. You may start to see other ways you can help people.
This can move you in a different direction, or enable you to find — or create — a new way of helping people using your skills, talent, expertise, and knowledge. This can be exciting, energizing you for work, rather than leading to burnout.
When I work with clients on personal branding, I help them see the value of the work they do and attach meaning and purpose to it. I often help them see a bigger vision for themselves, as a result of viewing their work in this way. Suddenly, what they are doing takes on a whole new level of significance. The same can be for you. Look for meaning in the work you do. It’s important for your mental well-being, as well as your quality of life.
Originally published at medium.com