Is your work meaningful? It may not be something you think about often, but it’s worth your time. Recognizing what you do as important and valuable contributes to your motivation at work and, subsequently, job satisfaction. According to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Doors of Opportunity are Open,” one of the top five factors that employees reported led to job satisfaction was “opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work.”
Only you can determine if your work is meaningful. And while you can’t force it, there are ways to boost your personal value at work. Try the following:
Understand The Big Picture
Get a good handle on your company’s vision and figure out how your tasks help achieve the organization’s main goal. Companies are driven by revenue, so see how you can contribute to the bottom line – directly or indirectly. This will not only boost your value within the company, but it will make you feel like you’re an important piece to the puzzle.
Be An Innovator
Most of your energy should be spent focusing on completing your assigned tasks. But leaving some room for innovation will give you a sense of purpose. It’s easy to get caught in the monotony of work, and small innovations in your contributions can restore meaning. It can be as simple as an improved process or as grand as a new product idea.
Know Where You Belong
You probably feel like you should be moving up the corporate ladder. But this isn’t for everyone. Increased pressure from having direct reports and being accountable for profits or losses adds stress. Know what you’re interested in and capable of when it comes to career aspirations. Being honest with yourself will save you undue personal turmoil.
Ensure A Work-Life Balance
A work-life blend has been all the rage in this digital era of work. But find what works best for you. No matter what, you just need adequate time for personal endeavors, whether it be family time, hobbies or side gigs. This also means taking care of yourself in terms of taking breaks from work, eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep at night.
Hang With The Right Crowd
If you surround yourself with Debbie downers, you’ll probably become one. Instead, actively seek out coworkers who encourage you – and feed off each other. Sometimes you don’t have a choice in who you’re forced to work with, so be mindful of keeping a positive attitude at all times. A supportive relationship with your boss is important in building work relationships too. You need to be able to go to him or her with concerns and ideas.
Getting a jump on what you need to get done will leave you plenty of room for unexpected circumstances. Procrastination is one of the major detractors from job satisfaction. Think about it: As deadlines loom, you become more stressed. It’s not a fun position to be in. And there’s no way out once you’ve already put your work off too long. Instead, be proactive and prepared.
Raise Your Hand
If your company has workplace committees or puts out a call for mentors, think about volunteering. Just like extracurriculars look good on your college entrance application, they will on your resume too. It will let you show off some of your other skills, aside from your core job requirements. Finding something you enjoy, that will give you a break from your main responsibilities, will also help you feel more engaged at work.