There are some days when work is a real drag; you might start to question why you do what you do. When you’re struck by these moments of woe, think about the following words by Paolo Gallo, Chief Human Resources Officer at the World Economic Forum to help you find meaning in your work.
Gallo brings to mind the story of Sisyphus, a figure from Greek mythology who was cursed by the gods to push a stone up a hill for eternity, only to watch it roll back down every time he reached the top. Sounds an awful lot like the menial tasks some office workers have to do every day.
Gallo then recalls a time when he worked for the World Bank when he visited a small village in Cameroon where his company had built a well. He realised that even though he wasn’t directly involved in the installation, his work helped to achieve the goal of bringing water to the small village.
His message is that even if you can’t see what the end result of those menial tasks is, that doesn’t mean your effort doesn’t matter. It’s not about the title on your business card or looking for your next promotion. “Purpose is not about what we do and how fast we do it, but why we do it and how we do it,” Gallo says.
He also points out the difference between a goal and a purpose. A goal is finite and has a definite end, such as “I want to get a promotion”. Purpose gives meaning to your work, as in “I want to become good at what I do”.
Once you’re armed with this knowledge, it’s up to you to find meaning in your work.
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