Zookeepers, despite their low wages and work environment (just consider all that poop scooping), are some of the most passionate, engaged and satisfied workers among all of us. Surprised? They, like people working in the health care field (in addition to public service workers, social workers and teachers), are likely to tell you they believe their work is meaningful – that it has purpose and contributes positively to the world – or that the job is their calling. And when you find personal meaning in your job, you're more likely not only to report higher satisfaction with your work, but also with life outside of the office. Employees who consider their work meaningful are more likely to overlook many of the daily hassles that most of us would probably complain about and are less likely to be absent from work or to report feelings of depression.
But what about those of us who weren't touched by fate? As it turns out, even if you weren't born to do the work you do, if you want to find job satisfaction, there are some tactics you can use to go from routine to rewarding. Strategies you can try as a way to improve your satisfaction situation boil down to one thing: This is a do-it-yourself project. While you look for that job you'd be perfect for, it's your decision to turn the job you have into a job you like.
Employees who've been around the block may want to try mentoring a new colleague or intern as a way to re-engage with and re-envision work that may have become mundane. Challenge yourself to break out of a task-list that's become tedious or trivial by volunteering for a new project, or work on your own personal growth by learning a new skill or pursuing job training. Keep an open mind when thinking about the positives of your job; you may find that your work relationships are meaningful to you and developing them fires up your creativity and desire to collaborate, or that the work you've chosen allows you to have a greater quality of life outside of work.