What is work for you?
One of the ways to understand if we are approaching work on “autopilot” or not, is to think about the weight that work has in our lives and ask ourselves if that weight really corresponds to the meaning that work has for us. It is important to understand this as the level of satisfaction tends to decrease more and more when we realize that we can no longer have total control over the choice of the routes we are following. Even if each of us is made differently, many define themselves precisely starting from the work they do and the type of meaning they attribute to it, also depending on the level of perceived satisfaction.
In fact, how many times have we had to answer the question “What do you do?” or, “What do you do at the company you work for?” This is to say that as much as we want it or not, work helps define a fundamental part of who we are and helps us identify within society. According to some research, in this regard, there are generally four types of particular meanings within which a person should be reflected.
1. Work as a job
It simply means working for a salary, without having any particular involvement or satisfaction. Work is, therefore, more perceived as a duty, and not as a thing that can also be enjoyed or a tool for one’s personal fulfillment. Work can equally produce a sense of competence for what you do and therefore, equally give a sense of fulfillment.
2. I work as a career
Working as a career is driven by the desire for success and social prestige. Work as a career can certainly be an important source of meaning and fulfillment in your personal life.
3. I work as a vocation
Work as a vocation derives from the idea that you may have been “called” to do a certain type of work, especially if it is those jobs that have a social purpose of helping others, or, if you feel to possess a particular natural gift that requires means and tools in order to be expressed.
4. Work as realization
Work as a realization can best be defined as an approach to work strongly inspired by personal interests, but without there being a particular vocation like the previous type of work. Those who seek their own fulfillment in the work can choose unconventional career paths that respond to their personal interests at the expense of even economic gain, in order to be able to give vent to their passion. It is a type of work that can certainly prove to be an important source of meaning in life.
These four categories just described can be partially overlapped, or in the course of each one’s life, alternate in different phases. What matters is to always be aware of the kind of meaning we are attributing to work at a specific moment of our life, and to be so satisfied with it or, otherwise, to be able to do something to change.
Finally, all these typologies suggest that work can give a greater or less sense to our lives, depending on the weight we decide to give it compared to everything else.