Wanting Meaningful Work Is Not a First World Problem

by Umair Haque in the HBR Blog Network.

Visual Courtesy: HBR Blog Network

As I read this post, a series of emotions coursed through me. Meangingful work is something we all seek. Yet, our perspectives are all very different at specific points in time. Meaning in work, itself, is governed by the state of emotions, at that particular point in time. From an all time high of achieving a goal, or being praised amongst your peer group, to the sense of utter frustration at the lack of progress or the inability to make others see your point for view.

Umair’s post, beautifully sums up the challenge we all face daily. Here’s a snapshot of the post for Benefit Point followers:

Reproduced from HBR Blog Network:

“I read your latest essay.” Arms crossed, eyes ablaze. “I don’t think you get it. At. All. I really don’t.”

I’d met Sophie, one of my mentees, for what I’d thought was going to be a pleasant chat over good coffee on a perfect autumn day.

“Meaning,” she muttered, staring darkly into her cup. And then glaring at me, continued, “What planet are you on? I’ve got student debt, credit card debt, an underpaid so-called job that makes me nauseous, a broken car, and a failing relationship.”

“Meaning,” she said again. This time, with scorn and a sneer. “Is a luxury. One that I can’t afford — and probably never will be able to. That’s reality outside the gilded cage and ivory tower. Get it?”.

Many of us, I’d bet, feel like this: in a hardscrabble age of austerity, the search for meaning is an unaffordable self-indulgence, the torrid affair that painfully breaks up the quietly satisfying marriage, an idly romantic daydream, the jackpot whose price is misfortune; that if one is to survive another lost decade, searching for meaning is something like mining the fools’ gold of life.

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