"Do you experience meaning at work -- or just emptiness?
In the United States people spend on average 35-40 hours working every week. That's some 80,000 hours during a career -- more time than you will spend with your kids, probably.
Beyond the paycheck, what does work give you? Few questions could be more important. It is sad to walk through life and experience work as empty, dreadful, a chore -- sapping energy out of your body and soul. Yet many employees do, as evidenced by one large-scale study showing that only 31 percent of employees felt engaged with their work.
Of course, different people look for different types of meanings -- and, moreover, different workplaces provide different meanings. The phrase "meaning at work" refers to a person's experience of something meaningful -- something of value -- that work provides. That is not the same as "meaningful work," which refers to the task itself. Work is a social arena that provides a variety of meaningful experiences; even if an employee doesn't find her tasks to be especially fulfilling, she might derive meaning from other aspects of her job, such as friendships with colleagues.
So, what are the sources of meaningful experiences at work? We have compiled a list of ways that work can become more meaningful, based on our reading of literature in organization behavior and psychology."