Work & Purpose

How to Make Work Work for You

The answer's revealed in this smart PBS Digital video

Australian science educator and filmmaker Vanessa Hill opens her clever PBS Digital BrainCraft video, Why Do We Work? (below) with a provocative question: If you didn’t have to work, and received an endless allowance, would you still choose to have a job?

The way you answer Hill’s question, she maintains, depends on how you approach work. For some, work is a job. For others, it’s a career. And for others, it’s a calling — doing what you believe you were born to do.

The Importance of Purpose at Work

As the editor of Next Avenue’s Work & Purpose channel, I’m a big believer in finding work that offers you purpose and meaning, if you can. I think that’s especially important for people in their 50s and 60s who are at the point in their lives where purpose matters more than when they were starting out and wanted a job to pay the bills.

Hill’s breezy film notes a few key research studies on what motivates people to work. My favorite: The hospital janitors who found purpose by being there to comfort and entertain patients and families, even though, as Hill says, this was “not part of the position description.”

Have a look. After watching it, as Hill says, Monday mornings may become a little less of a struggle.


RIchard Eisenberg, editor at Next Avenue wearing a suit jacket in front of a teal background.
By Richard Eisenberg
Richard Eisenberg is the Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue and Managing Editor for the site. He is the author of How to Avoid a Mid-Life Financial Crisis and has been a personal finance editor at Money, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and CBS MoneyWatch. Follow him on Twitter.

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