Editorial: What kind of work is meaningful?
Who has the most meaningful job? Perhaps a doctor or a social worker? Or a police officer or a soldier? What about teachers? This is a pointless question with no right answer. In reality, all work is meaningful upon closer examination. If some work were completely meaningless, it would not exist. From the point of view of coping and wellbeing at work, it is important that everyone finds meaning in and can be proud of their own work, in one way or another.
The article on slow checkouts in this issue underlines the importance of unhurried encounters that can be the high point of a customer’s day.
When we work, we do not always think about how important our work might be for someone else. The article on slow checkouts in this issue underlines the importance of unhurried encounters that can be the high point of a customer’s day. Anyone, including bus drivers, train conductors, facility managers or waiters at cafeterias, can provide equally meaningful encounters to their customers.
It is also a question of how you do your job.
The meaningfulness of work is not just a question of what you do for a job. It is also a question of how you do your job. Do you strive to help others, improve the work atmosphere and cheer up your colleagues and the other people you meet at work? And seek to increase the meaningfulness of your own work?
Some people just seem to radiate happiness to others.
I wish to return to our article on slow checkouts. It brought back memories from two decades ago. My local grocery shop had an employee whose checkout I always chose if they were on duty. There was something about them that always made me feel good. I cannot explain it. Some people just seem to radiate happiness to others. I am sure everyone knows someone who radiates happiness in their work.
Now there is something to think about and learn for all of us.
How meaningful our work feels also depends on how we approach our work. A good example of this can be found in the food industry. Two employees working for a manufacturer of meat products were asked what they do for a living. One of them said they make sausages, while the other responded that they produce positive breakfast experiences for the people. Now there is something to think about and learn for all of us.