Do you roll out of bed à la Garfield on Monday morning, already cursing the day ahead? Why do we do that to ourselves? Are the “Sunday scaries” the next psychological trend of our generation? Are we conditioned to dread the start of the work week?
We never find out why Garfield hates Mondays so much, but we can understand how to find meaning, even on a Monday.
A recent Fast Company article about how to create meaning at work, offers a really interesting exercise that can make any mundane work activity (it is called work, after all) more meaningful.
The trick is based on the importance of finding meaning in one’s work, no matter the task or job. If you think your job sucks, it will find out that it does suck. And if you look for meaning, you will find it.
Slogging through an endless spreadsheet for your demanding boss?
Try finding the meaning by asking the most simple, underlying question: “Why,” and you may find that you’re creating a budget so that you can understand how to best deliver a product that brings deep value into people’s lives.
About to go into a potentially tense meeting with a client?
Dig into the why. “I am going into this meeting to prove to myself that I am capable and will not let my fear of a potentially fraught situation limit me.”
Anything that appears meaningless and tedious on the outset can be full of meaning if we just widen our lenses and ask why. This is not to say that all aspects of all workplace environments are rich in personal meaning but anything can speak to our values if we let it.
Ask a few garbagemen about what they do for a living.
One might say he deals with society’s rubbish because no one else wants to.
Another might say that he takes out people’s unwanted waste so that they can live clean, productive lives.
And another might say that his job is at least as important as a doctor’s because he helps society stay free of harmful waste and germs and he helps society dispose of it all in an organized system.
Same job. Different meaning.
Our days are filled with “hows”.
However, deeper meaning and purpose lies within the “whys”. Ask yourself, where can you find some meaning behind your work. No “why” is too small. Refilling the toner in that giant office photocopier or taking out the recycling doesn’t have to totally suck if you can find some meaning and larger purpose behind each activity.
Isn’t Garfield’s purpose found within the lazy, lasagna life anyways? No wonder he hates Mondays. If you are still struggling to find meaning in your Monday routine, it may be time to find more meaningful work where you can truly exercise your values.