What do you love about your job

The secret of love for the job

Do you love your job

At least that is what we expect from our work. Who is surprised? After all, this story is hammered into us every day - in blogs, on television, in magazines, music, films.

Work should fulfill two functions: We want to earn money with it and at the same time find fulfillment, our life should get meaning through it. And above all, independence should give us all of that at once. But does she really do that?

Our world is more performance-oriented than ever. Job satisfaction has also become something like a cultural expectation and a goal in life. That can quickly become a burden.

"My job is quite good, but do I really want to live my life like this?"

It's tempting to just put the question aside and follow the same rut. Exchange time for material values, things like money or status.

The fairy tale of love for work

Work is swept up in a myth that we also know from romantic relationships, romantic comedies, and cartoons. To find our only true calling in life, to always stay in love, to get involved with the same enthusiasm every day until we eventually retire happily? A great dream, but let's stay realistic.

In reality, our relationship with work is much more complicated, full of ups and downs, heartbreak and fortunate coincidences - just like our romantic relationships in life.

But to understand why there is a gap between our ideal of work and what it looks like in reality, we have to take a step back and take a look at the history of work.

The rise in productivity

By the 18th century, work was done on a much smaller, local scale. Suppose someone worked in a clothing store. That person shared the store with, say, two other people. When a customer walked in, you were in charge of the greeting, taking measurements, cutting the fabric, sewing, making changes, counting the money, and doing the paperwork.

Then in 1776 a Scottish economist named Adam Smith wrote a very famous book called The Wealth of Nations. With this book, Smith made famous an old idea called "division of labor," a theory that, along with advances in technology, would propel the industrial revolution. The idea: work is broken down into many small, specific tasks so that people can specialize in a small area to a high degree. This specialization leads to more productivity and more profitability.

Instead of three people doing a lot of different jobs in a clothing store, now thirty or forty people can work on highly specific tasks. This increases the number of items of clothing produced and sold.

What makes work meaningful?

And that affects how we think about the meaning of work. For work to be meaningful, people need to feel pride in their company's goals while also feeling that their work is helping the company achieve those goals.

As human beings, we primarily find purpose in helping others. That might sound surprising, but deep down we know it is. Whether truck driver, artist, yoga teacher or hairdresser - everyone wants their own work to have a positive impact on society. And if not, if the work is “neutral”, then at least we want to live an intense, fulfilling life outside of work.

Of course, we also want to be good at what we do and find a job that suits our personality. But above all, we want what we do to be appreciated and appreciated by someone.

If we work all day on something we don't believe in, we can burn out inside and find our work soulless.

In addition, there is pressure from society, which ascribes immense importance to work. We are constantly evaluating whether we are spending our time preciously or not.

Is “always higher, always further” always good?

To stick with the example of our clothing store. You may be thinking, "Yes, but isn't it good to make and sell more clothes?" The answer is: maybe - depending on what you value.

The School of Life writes: The tragedy of many companies is that their real goal is not to help or to be really useful, but primarily to reward their shareholders. A goal for which the employees have to swap their lives again and again. "

The problem when productivity and profitability become the main reason for existence for a company: The “meaning” of work is gradually lost. For employees in Henry Ford's car factories, creativity was seen as a problem - like a mistake to be stamped out in the name of efficiency.

With more and more specialized job profiles aimed at increased productivity, employees are losing more and more focus on the big picture:

Who actually uses the end product and what is its value in the world?

Adam Smith's premonition

As early as 1776, Adam Smith predicted the erosion of personality - triggered by monotonous activities that are so often found in our society today. Applicable or not?


Yields rise, meaning diminishes

Imagine a multinational corporation with half a million employees. How much do you think each individual feels committed to the company's mission and customer satisfaction? Average employees might think:

"If I weren't here, someone else might as well do it."

A little sad, right?

Now imagine a small company with five or six employees. Each and every one of them is much closer to the company and the customers. The roles are not set in stone. If someone has an idea in the shower, they can just talk to the boss. It is much easier to find connection and meaning in a company like this.

And now the question: If the feeling for the meaning and purpose of work decreases more and more, what does that mean for the self-employed?

By the way - diversity is good for the soul

Man has a built-in urge to create. There is actually a part of the brain (called the ventral striatum, or "search system") that drives us to have new experiences.


Independence - meaning taken to the extreme

If you run your own business, you are solely responsible for the success of that business. You have full control over how you work, how much you specialize and which clients you work with.

You alone have it in your hand to make your customers happy.

Nobody stands in your way, there is no intermediate level between you and the people who benefit from your work. So you can experience firsthand this experience that your work has meaning.

Self-employment has the potential to take meaning to extremes.

Working for yourself also brings diversity. With your own company, you are responsible for various tasks - business development, marketing, accounting, not to mention your own product. You never run out of tasks and you are constantly learning.

Conclusion - is there a love for the job?

Slowly but surely, a change is taking place in our society - and the self-employed are driving it forward. People choose to take their time back. Of course, self-employment is not a “romantic version” of work - it probably doesn't exist either, it's always complicated.

But in the search for love for your job, it can help to put time above money again. And sense of return. Is this the first step into self-employment or whether you find your fulfillment differently? Only you can answer that yourself.