Finding Meaning in Work

The silver lining to the recession is that I keep reading about stories of people, like you and me, who are forced into questioning what they do for work, and if it still has meaning for them after all.

I am reading about people who have used their layoff to re-examine their values and beliefs, and challenge the forces that brought them to choose the current work that they are doing. Maybe they are unfulfilled. Maybe their job never brought them their fantasy that they had pinned on this employer, or their field. Maybe they’ve burned out a while ago, and the recession is exposing them to that reality just now.

The idea of re-examination is fascinating to me. Rather, the forces at work that come together to create that re-examination are even more interesting. Why do people suddenly decide to do something different? Or maybe, it’s been a long-winded process, and the door just got kicked open to make a change.

Is this you? Are you happy doing what you for for work? Have you taken a status check with yourself and re-examined your level of happiness with your work?

I’ve been in jobs and a career or two that suck, that didn’t make me happy, and that forced me into a sustained daydreaming state. I don’t want to go back to that mental state anymore. I want to be afforded the continued opportunity to really savor my work and wake up in the morning enjoying what I am doing and feel proud of the work that I do. And I do have that now.

Our life energy is limited. We only have so much on this Earth. We work simply to earn income. And income is simply and expression of life energy. So, we trade our life energy in exchange for income. So, how can we start to maximize our experiences for the life energy that we trade away for – the most precious commodity that we have on this planet.

Maybe the recession is allowing you to re-examine these things. If you’re not in a position to leave your job, or your field, maybe you’ve begun to re-examine the things that you can change in your life so that you start to do more that is aligned with your values. If you value people and family, you might start to spend more time with family and prioritize them over other commitments. If you value music and art, maybe you dedicate more time to playing music or creating or viewing art. If you value sports, maybe this becomes the time to spend more energy and time playing them more.

In times of crisis, such as now, the quality of hope and transformation is always latent. I’m not talking about a Barack Obama-type movement, but I’m thinking smaller and more personal. Crisis always creates opportunity and re-examination, so this is a fine time to do just that. I know I am right now.

About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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