Work may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think about health and happiness, but perhaps it should be. Mounting research suggests that people who are engaged in their jobs have better physical and mental health than their disengaged co-workers. A fulfilling job leads to a more fulfilled life, better relationships and marriages too.
Amy Wrzesnieswki offers a refreshing perspective on the benefits of finding meaning in work for individuals and organizations: "it is not so much the kind of work that matters as it is the relationship to the work." She describes three work orientations:
1. People who view their work as a Job
2. People who view their work as a Career
3. People who view their work as a Calling
The following demonstrates the point: One person might say, "I am laying bricks," a second might say, "I am building a wall," and a third might say, "I am creating a cathedral." All three share the same day-to-day labor, it is the perspective that differs.
Wrzesnieswki believes that people with Callings -- the cathedral builders -- view their work in ways that allow them to experience it as a source of joy and meaning. In order to turn a job into a career or calling she recommends "job crafting." Job crafting entails the redesign of one's job in ways that foster satisfaction, engagement, resilience and thriving at work -- hopefully making the job a greater source of well-being.
Rethink your job. Rather than looking at "what is," imagine "what could be."
Build your job around your strengths. Consider how you spend your time. Are you spending more time on the tasks you dread, fixating on the things you aren't good at, procrastinating until it's too late? The inane details of work won't go away, but emphasizing the tasks you enjoy and excel at give you the strength to navigate through the ones you don't like: "People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job."
High-Quality Connections. Relationships in life, including work relationships, matter for well-being. In her book Energize Your Workplace, Jane Dutton highlights the importance of making high quality connections at work. Not only do high quality connections foster greater positivity at the office but greater marital satisfaction as well.
Find meaning. Adam Grant describers a new definition of success as: "not what you achieve, but what you help other people achieve." Every job touches the life of someone else, from laying bricks to building cathedrals. How does yours?
Confucius said: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
I would rephrase: Make your job one you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.