Meaningful Work

As I was reviewing some material for an upcoming course Dayna and I teach, I came across an article that made me reflect on why I – and I suspect many of you – work in higher education.
Catherine Bailey and Adrian Madden interviewed 135 people working in 10 different occupations – including academics, entrepreneurs, garbage collectors, lawyers, retail assistants, and stone masons – and wrote up their findings in “What Makes Work Meaningful – or Meaningless?” from the Summer 2016 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review. The article notes that: “ . . . researchers have shown meaningfulness to be more important to employees than any other aspect of work, including pay and rewards, opportunities for promotion or working conditions.” This rings true for most people I know in higher education – they chose their career, whether in teaching, research, or administration largely because they believe in the mission of higher education and want to have a positive impact on individuals, communities, economies, and societies. It’s a bit of a calling.

 

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