Secrets to Finding Meaningful Work


In today’s society, we are encouraged to find work and choose a career that will provide financial stability, rather than to follow our dreams. People see our dream jobs as unachievable many times and believe that it is not worth the risk if we do not succeed. Many times we choose the same path as others instead of pursuing what we really want to do. We have lost the connection between our careers and what is meaningful to us. This is what our culture has become, but it is more than possible to find work that is meaningful to you and that you are passionate about.

Nowadays, our society has “trained” us to follow one lifestyle, and think that is the best way to be successful. This same “training” goes so deep inside our unconscious that sometimes we don’t realize we are not doing what we love, until after years of working in something else. The biggest problem comes with the thought that finishing your studies will supposedly give you the best outcome in life. Sometimes this might be true, but if we can combine our studies with our passion, the work will be a lot more fulfilling. Many people do not believe this is possible, but with the right knowledge, we can accomplish anything we want.

Part of the reason the students here at Antioch choose this particular school is because of their emphasis on social justice. We want to do something that matters.

A great way to figure out what you want to do with your career is to ask yourself what you would do if money was not an issue? Stop and think about where you are right now, are you doing anything right now that could help you get to the point where you want to be. Remember that nothing is impossible. Look at what your talents are, and see how you could use those talents in your dream job.

Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your career, think about what your passions are and start working in that direction. Nothing is set in stone, but most likely your biggest passions will be the same in the future. Things will get more clear with time as you start exploring the fields you are interested in.

Image result for valuesThe most important thing is to know you are, and what your values are. This is the first step if you want to find work that is meaningful. You need to be clear on what you want before you can start looking for solutions to problems outside yourself. Knowing who you are, and what your passion and values are, can really help you see what fields would be a good fit for you. Also to remember, meaningful work does not have to be specific to your passion, as long as it gives you fulfillment and happiness. If you are not sure what really matters to you, you can take a quiz that will help you figure out your core values. Take the quiz here:

Our academic success counselor here at Antioch, Shira Minerd, has some great advice on how to find work where they have the same values as you. She says that a good place to start is to look at the company’s mission statement.

Also, by finding other people that work for the organization and having conversations with them you can figure out if the company actually operates accordingly to what they say. Asking them about how the everyday work is at the organization can help you figure out if it would be a good fit for you.

Shira says that if you want to find meaningful work, one way to start is to find an internship in a field that you are interested in and that way you will know if this is something you want to continue pursuing or not. If you are a student here at Antioch, finding a service learning site that you are passionate about can also help you figure out what you want to do. She says that this will not only promote your resume but also your own level of interest. Another thing Shira emphasized is that you have to be mindful of what type of environment you want to work in as well. Do you like working with a lot of people, do you like being very public about your work, or do you work better behind the scene or at home? Even if you find your dream work, you might not be happy if the environment is not right for you. The environment, the job title, the salary, and your values are all connected.

Lastly, Shira mentions the importance of networking and developing your contacts. When graduating, this is the key to finding a job that you are passionate about. Figure out ways that you can help the community, and also talk to students that have already graduated. Surely some students work within a field that you are interested in, and they might have some great advice.

We should all take the time to think about whether the path we are on is right for us or not, and if we are doing it for the right reasons. Being fearless will get you far, and all your dreams can come true if you work hard and put your heart into it.


About Author

Maja Lindell Enstroem

Maja is an enthusiastic vegan from Sweden who has lived in Santa Barbara for three years. She transferred from Santa Barbara City College and now studies Business & Entrepreneurship at Antioch University Santa Barbara. She is passionate about the environment and hopes to pursue a career in that field. Her plan after graduating from Antioch is to continue studying in Barcelona. She has many interests outside of school such as hiking, dancing, and traveling.

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