By Karen Lomas
In the media there’s a lot being written and spoken about regarding meaningful employment. In addition, it’s been a topic of conversation with clients of all ages. I think this is partly due to the pandemic — even pre-pandemic, popular culture has given us insight into the notion of finding a job that excites us.
We only need to watch a couple of episodes of Masterchef Australia to hear the stories of people who report going into a career that gave them no joy and finally realised what was important to them. In those cases, it was making and sharing their food creations.
What exactly is ‘meaningful work’?
Jennifer Luke, a Researcher Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), is an expert on the topic of meaningful work. Her work focuses on how finding meaningful work can positively affect our wellbeing. She has been studying the motivations behind job searches and the ability of individuals to find work. What is it that people are seeking, beyond the security of ongoing employment, financial reward or status?
Everyone is different and will in turn be motivated by different 'Work Attractors' — the drawcards that a recruiter lists to ‘sell’ a job to job seekers. What is meaningful for you may not be so important to your partner, or your child.
Meaningful work and the role of the career coach
Jennifer goes on to stress that it isn’t easy to translate your career curiosity and career confidence into results, around gaining meaningful work, without the support of a professional career coach. This is where we come in — by helping people prioritise the work attractors that they identify and to communicate this well to your current and potential recruiters. We also support your research into options around skills acquisition, either through formal training or by means of work experience placements and volunteering activities.
Karen is a career coach specialising in early career exploration with school-aged students. This article is an edited excerpt, published with permission from the author. You can view the whole article and its accompanying podcast here.