Daily Archives: July 29, 2020

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On the difficulty of meaningless work

I thought this piece was  insightful and worth reading:  Too Many Jobs Feel Meaningless Because They Are.

One of the examples from the piece was especially insightful:

Consider the case of Eric, a history graduate hired to oversee a software project ostensibly intended to improve the coordination of different groups in a large firm. Eric only discovered after several years on the job that one of the firm’s partners had initiated the project, but that several others were against it and were acting to sabotage its success. His job — and that of a large staff hired beneath him — was a meaningless effort to put into place a change that most of the company didn’t want.

This is not to imply that all companies are like this. Companies can be efficient and well aligned and the vast majority of the people in it can feel like the work they are doing make a difference most of the time. However there are also companies which are not well aligned and there are conflicts within the organization. When that happens, the work being done may be meaningless, despite the fact that someone wants it done.

Work can be hard for a number of reasons: too much of it,  difficult people to work with, etc. But it can also be hard if it is meaningless, even if everything else is good.