How To Make Work More Meaningful

By Raymond Wong


If anyone of us were to ask our grandparents or parents what drove them to work every morning, their answer wouldn’t be e-hailing! Their answer would probably be, to just make a living. In many generations passed there was little concern for career paths nor work passion. It was just kerja-lah! 

Nowadays, Gen Ys and Zs have a very ‘diasporic’ view about work or even work cultures. Employers have faced all kinds of encounters and realised that freshies and job seekers are unlike those from the past generations. Firstly, they do not seem to find meaning in work. Work is not for making a living anymore. A global Gallup poll even in 2015 indicated that 70% of employees are not ‘involved in, enthusiastic about or committed to their work’. Employers take pain to show their company’s mission and vision and in a Forbes report, 38% of them indicated that employees do not understand the company’s core values. Therefore, it is clearly a problem at both ends: employee and employers. 



 Connecting to an effect 

Employers need to realise that traditional career ladders are old concepts and employees need new reasons to sync a purpose to their jobs. “I work better if I know how my job affects my customers.” Freshies and newbies need to connect because they are the connected generations. Does it make customers healthier, wiser, happier, and will this solve their problem? In short, outer connections can add meaning to any kind of work. Hence, employers should avoid anonymity and let employees connect more in whatever ways possible. Via social media for example.  


 Collective wisdom 

“I have already graduated, what more can I learn from you?” Jobseekers often come with a high dose of ego-juice. As an employee, better squeeze out all that juice the moment you step into a new job. For employers, walk the talk and show newbies what they can get through collective wisdom in real work life that a campus does not teach. For jobseekers, start with none other than being humble and an eagerness to learn more. Imagine, now you are being paid to learn!  


Find your roadmap 

Jobseekers have to recognise their inner potentials. Be the lighthouse, shine signals to your team mates and engage them to your potentials. It could be something else besides what you majored in at college. From accounting to PR. From management to sales. Work your roadmap as per, or work it around your job to make it more meaningful. And remember, roadmaps are never always in straight lines.   


 Anchor onto your pivot 

Companies always know that personal creativity of their employees are the greatest asset for them to tap into. For jobseekers, you can do the same too. One way to find meaning in your job is to find a mentor or mentors at your workplace and tap into their aspirations that can inspire you along your roadmap. More work meaning will come to both as mutual benefits grow and evolve. Take this pivot as the budding roots to build your professional networking. 

Work methods and processes have changed over time. Meaningful work cultures seldom change but have evolved to be inclusive rather than exclusive either to the employee or employer. Bottomline though, everyone still work-lah, because someone has to pay the bills eventually.  

Last words for jobseekers: Free your mind from the old norms, embrace disruptions without disrupting your work.  

Last words for employers: Be down to earth, simplify your company’s higher purpose and embrace a new degree of work-life balance in the continuing new norm for the years ahead.