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Find Meaning in a Job Well Done

How to Make All Your Work Rewarding & Satisfying

-- By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert

For most of us, work is a fact of life. Whether your paycheck helps care for a family, a home, tuition, or simply what you need to stay alive, we spend a large percentage of our waking hours doing some kind of work.

According to recent research, most of us also have conflicting feelings about our work. Over 84 percent of men and 77 percent of women say that, even if they had enough money to get by without working, they would continue to work because of the satisfaction it provides. But when these same people were asked if they would rather be doing something else at that moment, by far the largest number of “yes” answers came from those who were at work at the time.

Studies of adolescents indicate that ambivalence about work develops early. High school students report viewing their schoolwork and part-time jobs as being important for the future, and say that they get positive self-esteem from their accomplishments. But most prefer to spend their time doing less important things that don't require concentration—even though they don’t provide the same payoff in terms of self-esteem or future benefits.

This isn’t exactly earth-shattering news. Who doesn’t know that it’s more fun to do something pleasant, rather than something tedious that needs to be done? Or that successfully finishing something helps you feel good about yourself? Life is about choices. You can’t have it all, can you?

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