May 21, 2008

Why Searching for Meaning at Work is pretty much useless

Lucy Kellaway writes in the Financial Times:

The search for meaning at work not only goes on unabated but also seems to be getting more urgent all the time.

This crisis of meaningless is a relatively new thing. A report from the Work Foundation published last week argues that looking for meaning at work would have seemed outlandish even a generation ago. But now, as a joint result of affluence and our general leaning towards introspection, it has become the norm. We all insist that our jobs should mean something.

The author of the report, Stephen Overell, points out that meaning is a subjective thing: what counts as meaningful work to one person won’t to another. This means that companies, for all their insistence on “employee engagement programmes”, can’t create meaning and should not try.

Instead they should concentrate on not destroying it – which many of them manage to do effortlessly enough through treating their employees badly.

Read the full article here . Thought provoking!