Meaningful Work Makes All the Difference
I have been to many professional development presentations that focus on highly productive work environments. One theme that is highlighted repeatedly is the importance of “meaningful work.”
When I was in my 20’s, I didn’t understand this. I remember being a young marketing manager in New York, providing instructions to a software development team in Florida. These developers were smart and so incredibly committed. They knew their contributions added value to the company. But, my team kept changing the rules and the end-game. I am totally embarrassed to admit that I didn’t understand why the software team was frustrated. To my immature way of thinking, they were doing something they liked, working with good people and getting paid for it. The only thing is, they never had the satisfaction of completing anything.
How frustrating is that?
I now fully understand the level of dissatisfaction their work environment caused. In my own maturation as a manager, that “ah ha moment” was one of the biggest in my career. To this day, I carry it with me almost every day.
Meaningful work, contributing value: it’s what makes our days worthwhile.
Two years ago, I wrote an end-of-year email to the entire VSA team. I praised our staff on the contributions they had made over the year. In two short sentences, I said, “If you ever wonder why we do what we do, just consider the value we add to our clients’ businesses. We are the engines that feed our clients’ sales pipelines with new qualified leads.” Do you know, the very next Monday one of my employees told me that she had shared that email – and in particular those sentences – with a friend. My words really touched her and reinforced her own personal self-worth.
What VSA does is a challenging, tedious, often thankless job. However, if the VSA management team can continue to communicate the true value we all provide each and every day, this makes all the difference.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether we’re developing software or making cold calls. It matters that the people we do it for value our work and value us! We all want to feel that the effort we put out contributes to a greater good, and that we are not working without a purpose.