Finding Meaning at Work, Even When Your Job Is Dull

By Morten Hansen and Dacher Keltner

Do you experience meaning at work—or just emptiness?

In the United States, people spend an average of 35 to 40 hours working every week. That’s some 80,000 hours during a career—more time than you will spend with your kids probably. Beyond the paycheck, what does work give you? Few questions could be more important. It is sad to walk through life experiencing work as empty, dreadful, a chore—something that saps energy out of your body and soul. Yet many employees feel this way, as evidenced by one large-scale study showing that only 31% of employees were engaged.1

Work can, however, provide an array of meaningful experiences, even though many employees do ...

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