The brilliant Amy Wrzesniewski from Yale University researches how people perceive their jobs. She found that the way a person sees his or her occupation—as a “calling,” as opposed to a “job”—doesn’t depend on the job title or position, but on the meaning he or she perceives in the work.
But meaning is created in the human brain. No job is meaningful until someone’s brain attaches a meaning to it. All of us, no matter our situations, have the power to bring significance and lasting happiness to our professional lives. Janitors at retirement homes are just as likely as Wall Street bankers to find meaning and purpose in their work—as long as both can see how their work is helpful to others and perceive how their strengths are crucial to their jobs.
You can be the architect of a meaningful occupation—which gives you a choice today about your work. Are you going to start your job today or your calling?
Here are three questions that help your brain transition from job to calling: 1) How does your work contribute to a better community or world? 2) What part of your daily routine do you secretly enjoy that others might find mundane? 3) What skill would you most like to hone today?
These three questions can shift your mindset, taking your work from mundane to meaningful. Then you’ll begin to reap the happiness advantage through the day. Enjoy your new occupation!