How to Make Any Job Feel More Meaningful

You head into the office day after day, sit down at your desk, and power your way through your to-do list. And, while you generally enjoy what you do, you’re starting to feel a little uninspired.

Sure, you know your work is important on some level. But, you’re struggling to find the meaning in your daily grind. You’re itching to feel like you’re making an impact, leaving your mark, and generally accomplishing something other than surviving another eight hours of work.

But, uhh, where do you get started? Is it possible to make your work life feel more meaningful, without having to uproot your career or make major changes?

Spoiler alert: Yes, it is. Here’s how to make any job—yes, literally any job—feel like it means more than just a paycheck.

1. Set Goals

It becomes all too easy to get wrapped up in the monotony of your day to day. You lose sight on the things you’re accomplishing and just generally miss the forest for the trees.

This is one of the many reasons that setting goals for yourself can be so helpful. Instead of making you feel like you’re sitting at your desk and just clocking another few hours, setting milestones and objectives for yourself will confirm that you’re working toward something bigger—something important to you.

So, whether your goal looks like achieving that promotion you’ve been chasing within the next year or finally learning to code, go ahead and outline some important things you want to accomplish. It’ll keep you feeling motivated and inspired—and who doesn’t need a little more of that?

2. Get Involved in New Things

If you’re beginning to feel like your work is pointless, it might be time for a little change and a fresh perspective. What’s the best way to get that? By getting involved in different things and trying your hand at some new challenges.

Have a conversation with your supervisor to see if you could help out in another department occasionally. Or, step up and offer to spearhead a new project.

Challenging yourself is a great way to break free from the mundaneness of your daily work life and shake things up a little—meaning you’ll develop a totally new view of your career.

3. Understand Where You Fit In

Oftentimes, our work feels meaningless because we just feel like yet another cog in a wheel. We lose sight of how the tasks that we complete individually contribute to the overall success of our company.

This is when you need to take a big step back and take a look at where you fit in. Recognizing that your office would fall apart if you weren’t there to handle all of those administrative tasks or that there’d be almost no revenue if you weren’t part of promoting and marketing your employer’s products or services will give you more a bird’s eye view of how truly important your contributions are.

Even better? Taking a few minutes to remind yourself of the bigger picture is always a great way to solidify your understanding of how your company operates.

4. Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture

Speaking of the bigger picture, when you’re starting to feel as if your work lacks meaning, remind yourself of this: Every job is meaningful, because every job offers something.

Whether it’s the ability to gain experience, refine new skills, or meet new people, every job is contributing something important and valuable to your professional story and journey. That’s not something to be written off or discounted.

So, in those moments when it all seems pointless, remember that you’re always getting something out of that position.

5. Reward Yourself

Think about this: When is the last time you pressed pause and gave yourself the chance to celebrate your wins? Are you taking the time to recognize your successes and accomplishments—and maybe even reward yourself for a job well done?

If you’re shaking your head and thinking, “Well, no…” that could very well be part of the problem. Keeping your head down and staying focused on your work is important. But, you don’t want to become so obsessed that you never give yourself the opportunity to look at the things you’ve already achieved. That’ll only cause you to feel like you’re spinning on a hamster wheel—and rolling straight toward burnout.

Go ahead and take a minute to give yourself a pat on the back or reward yourself with an afternoon cappuccino from your favorite corner coffee shop. Even taking a very brief break to recognize those mini milestones will make progress more apparent—which instantly makes your work feel more meaningful.

Everybody experiences those moments (alright, maybe even days) when their jobs simply don’t feel meaningful—it’s an easy trap to fall into. But, you don’t want to continue to spiral into that way of negative thinking.

Instead, remember these five key things, and you’re sure to feel inspired and fulfilled by your work once again.

Written by

Kat is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer covering topics related to careers, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Her byline has appeared in numerous outlets and publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, QuickBooks, Business Insider, and more. Find out more about her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter.

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