I’m reading Alain de Botton’s new book, “The pleasures and sorrows of work”. Philosopher de Botton examines the delights (and otherwise) of the modern workplace in all its diversity, from art to biscuit manufacturing, accounting to career counselling. Often funny and a little sad (biscuits as a branch of psychology is one arresting thought), the book explores the relatively recent idea that work should be meaningful.
Career change is one area I love to work in with clients. Having never had a strong ‘vocation’ or burning childhood ambition to be a doctor, dentist or deep-sea diver, I envied those who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. I wanted to be able to announce some impressive sounding and instantly recognisable job title to new people I met.
The turning point came a few years ago when I realised that actually the only job title that really fitted was ‘Learner’. As long as I am constantly learning new things to add to my pot of knowledge and experience, my work is meaningful. Once I realised that learning is a big driver for me, I no longer needed the fancy title.
What are your career drivers? What would you do, even if you didn’t get paid? What adds meaning to your working day?
Most of us spend a huge proportion of our waking hours at work. My feeling is that it might as well be time well spent.