How do you handle work when you’re not one of the lucky ones who has found meaning there? First, forget the idea that you have to make a drastic change. Anyone can find meaning at their current job because meaning is about connecting to your situation.
If you’re dissatisfied, you’re most likely either complaining or you’ve just assumed you’ll never be satisfied in your current position. Either way, you’re not plugged in. If you were, you’d be more motivated to do something about your dissatisfaction. Instead of disengaging, look to connect—to people, to having fun, to a bigger why, to your strengths. Doing so is a personal choice that can yield big benefits.
Approach those around you with curiosity. Instead of judging your coworkers, try to learn what they’re all about. Real connection with others is satisfying and can make any work situation happier. There’s a reason companies measure whether employees have a best friend at work.
Are you boring? Have you let your numbness at work affect other parts of your life? Shake it off and find ways to have fun! Not only will you have less stress, you’ll be more creative as you expose your brain to new stimuli.
Does your company produce something you care about, sponsor a cause dear to your heart, or play a part in leading their industry? Figure out ways you can connect to what you care about—whether it’s organizing a company fun run for a cause, reworking a policy that will benefit people in your company, or connecting the company with a non-profit. Any of those activities will broaden your network and bring you into contact with different types of people and ideas—which, in itself, is energizing.
Are you just going through the motions? Take responsibility for strengthening your strengths. Take a class to buff them up. Figure out how you can rework your current job to take advantage of your sweet spot (and negotiate to move some responsibilities to others so you don’t end up broadening your job description). Using your unique point of difference regularly will provide benefits in and of itself.
Meaning comes from connection and feeling. Make choices that keep you consciously growing because it will eventually lead you to where you wish to be—and you’ll feel good along the way.