You hear a lot about the importance of finding a job that is “meaningful,” but what does that really “mean?” Is it just a buzzword, or a subjective judgment that can mean anything to anyone. And, is something you can actually obtain?

There are many ways to describe “meaningful” work. For most, it’s fulfilling. It’s “worth the effort”. And, because it’s all of the aforementioned, you actually enjoy it.

If you desire to do meaningful work and not just mundane tasks every day, the first thing you need to is get clear on what meaningful work means to you. To help you get started, here are a few characteristics of a career that is likely to fulfilling.

the job makes life better 

If the job you are doing isn’t making your life, or the lives of others, better, you may find it difficult to find your work meaningful. Seek out employment that has meaning for you. It would be as simple as offering excellent customer care or improving the community. Maybe your job simply makes you happy because you’re able to engage your talents. Or, it could be that the compensation package is substantial enough to make your family’s life better. 

If the job you are doing isn't making your life, or the lives of others, better, you may find it difficult to find your work meaningful. Click To Tweet

One of the first steps to identifying what meaningful work means to you is to take stock of what makes you happy. For example, helping others with their health makes you feel good, consider becoming a physician’s assistant. Or, if you’re creative, think about ways to monetize your skills. From becoming a graphic designer to opening an art school the possibilities are endless, once you’re clear on what moves you.

how to start living a life of intention and purpose

the job is in line with your core values and principles

Meaningful work also includes proper alignment with your core values and principles. Yet, many women find themselves compromising their own values every day at work. If you find yourself in this situation, run. It’s easy to get drawn into the way your company or business does things. But, if you find yourself doing things that are unfair or that make you feel uncomfortable, don’t ignore these feelings. Lean into them. It’s a sign that it’s time to move on. 

the work you’re doing has an impact that transcends everyday concerns

When we think of meaningful work, we also consider it to have a kind of “transcendent” quality. In other words, it ‘matters’ on a deeper level and has an impact beyond typical everyday concerns.

Artists, for example, are often inspired by the idea that their work touches the “spiritual” aspect of the human condition. They’re work often tells a story, expresses emotion, or invokes a feeling. And they’re work often transcends time. But this concept can be applied to any line of work. There are women from all walks of life, backgrounds, with varied job experience that leave a lasting impact on others. 

From the school cafeteria lady that made such an impact that she’s remembered long after she’s gone, to the volunteer activist that spent their life helping others do better, or the physician that dedicated her life to finding alternative therapies for suffering patients. It’s important that it doesn’t matter so much ‘what the work it’, as long as it’s meaningful to you.