How to find a meaningful career according to three people who’ve done it

How to find a meaningful career

The world has woken up to the role work plays in our wellbeing. With the average Brit working up to 84,365* hours across their lifetime, we can all agree: our job is an important part of life, and never more so than since the start of the pandemic.

Why workers want more

The almost-overnight shift to remote working gave us a time to re-evaluate, and our careers were no exception. We realised 9-5 could be done differently, in a way that suited our lives and families. For many it raised the question “Is my job meaningful?“

As the lockdowns wore on, this shift in mindset created a mass movement of workers standing up and walking out across industries, turning 2021 into what Dr Anthony Klotz, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at UCL, dubbed the “Great Resignation”. The result? Global talent shortages unlike any we’ve seen before. In fact, at the start of 2022, 77% of UK employers were unable to find the right staff (ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey Q1 2022).

Workers now want more, and this time it’s not all about the money. People are looking for empathetic leaders and wellbeing tops the agenda – 49% of employees would move to an organisation for better wellbeing, and three in four want to feel passionate about their work (ManpowerGroup, The Great Realisation).

Three in four

Meanwhile, the recent TikTok trend of “Quiet Quitting”, has sparked controversy (as well as making the list of ‘words of the year’ in 2022) – young people advocating for what some call a “coasting culture” – not taking your job too seriously and refusing to go above and beyond. But whilst striving for work-life balance should be a given, and while there might be a moment of ‘pay-back pleasure’ in saying no to that 5 to 5 request from your boss, the majority agree: feeling excited about our work is important.

Steve Jobs once said:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

We couldn’t agree more. So, how can we find meaningful work? To answer this question, we spoke to three people who’ve changed their careers.

From banking to transport planning, plumbing to driving, and from the food industry to sustainability, let their stories inspire you:

Watch Adam’s story
Watch Adam’s story
Watch Helen’s story
Watch Helen’s story
Watch Liam’s story
Watch Liam’s story


Why workers want more

If you want to change careers, ask yourself these questions:

Is your secret talent something you’re already doing in your daily life? Maybe you’re the person others always trust? Are you the unofficial organiser of the group, or do friends rely on you to take the lead?

Who do you career-envy? That’s a clue to what you should be doing. And don’t worry if it’ll take you retraining to get there. Moving slowly in the right direction will get you to your goal quicker than speeding in the wrong one.

What do you believe in? And what experience can you draw on from your own life to transform that belief into a paying job? For example, if you’re passionate about the planet and you have experience in engineering, could you be an environmental engineer?

As Adam, Helen and Paul found out, finding meaningful work is not just possible, it can be rewarding too – financially and emotionally.

Here at Manpower, we don’t just place you in a job, we help you develop skills that make you employable for the long-term! That’s our mission, and it’s the mission of MyPath, our exclusive upskilling programme too.

From customer service to engineering, ‘green jobs’ to business support, or logistics to manufacturing, Manpower helps thousands of people find new jobs every day. Don’t settle, let our consultants help you find a job you love too. Visit our website today or find out how our MyPath programme could accelerate your career.

*Office for National Statistics

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