How We Will Create Meaning in the Jobs of the Future - OZY | A Modern Media Company


Because the next generation of workers want more than just a paycheck.

By OZY Editors

In a new five-part podcast, in partnership with Smartsheet, OZY paints a picture of the workplace to come, from productivity and privacy to social enterprise and the rise of gamification. Listen up on, Spotify, Apple or wherever you prefer to stream your audio.

What is the best way to find meaning at work? It’s a question for the ages and one that will become even more important in the years ahead. This season on The Future of X podcast, OZY has explored how closely the future workplace will be tied to the future of technology. In the latest episode, we focus on the psychology of the future workplace and the quest for meaning.

For many of us, our jobs are invariably tied to who we are as people, says Adam Grant, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania specializing in organizational psychology, and so it is quite natural that we look for meaning there. And meaning, he says, can’t come from a paycheck alone. “I don’t think the pay is something you offer and motivate someone. I think it’s something you offer to show people how valued they are.”

One way to find meaning is to ask yourself, ‘If my job didn’t exist, who would be worse off?’

Adam Grant, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

But, if it’s not all about the pay, then what is the best way to find meaning at work? “The single biggest driver of meaning at work is the belief that your actions in your job have a positive impact on other people,” says Grant. “And so one way to find meaning is to ask yourself, ‘If my job didn’t exist, who would be worse off?’”

Technology could also help us in this quest for meaning by freeing us up to focus on things that we’re truly passionate about. The key to this, says Lisa Bodell, a futurist and the CEO of futurethink, is for us to ensure that technology helps us not just to do more things, but to do better things. “The real shift that has to happen for us is focusing not just on the efficiency that technology brings us,” says Bodell. “It’s more about letting us be efficient so we can be valuable.”

And if we can manage that, then the future of work will not belong to the robots, but to us humans, and what we find meaning in, and can achieve. “You can be more in command of your future than you think,” says Bodell. “You just have to be open to the possible changes that come with it.”

Check out the latest episode of The Future of X: The Workplace to learn more about the future of finding meaning at work. Now available on OZY and all podcast platforms.

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