By | Allison Schrager | www.bloomberg.com
If you expect your job to give your life meaning, you’re setting yourself up for failure. There was a time when a job was just an economic transaction: Someone paid you for your labor and that enabled you to live and support your family. But for a variety of reasons, many workers today expect more. They want purpose and meaning from their work. And if they don’t find it, some are leaving jobs, or just putting in minimal effort for their paycheck.
This is a costly mistake, though I understand why it’s tempting. I love my job and find it incredibly rewarding. I wish the same for everyone else. But I didn’t always find my work especially meaningful. Job satisfaction doesn’t come easy; it’s something you achieve over time as you gain skills and status in your field.
My best advice to you if you’re looking for a job is to just go for the money — or the chance to learn something new, or the work-life balance you need — and steer clear of any employer that touts a mission or promises to give your life purpose. Such promises lead to disappointment, more than anything. If that sounds craven, then the better solution is to adjust your definition of what you find meaningful.