Guest blog: The importance of finding work that is meaningful

photo_39897_20150807According to a survey published by Investors in People, 60% of workers in the UK are not happy in their current jobs. Another survey revealed that nearly 80% of Londoners and unhappy in their jobs. And a Gallop poll shows that 23% of workers worldwide hate their jobs, with only 15% who feel engaged by their jobs, meaning they are passionate about, and deeply connected to, their work.

So there is no denying that huge numbers of people all over the world dislike what they’re doing for most of the day, five days a week.

We pay a serious price when we do a job we dislike, especially a job that lacks meaning and autonomy. Research shows that doing a job you hate is actually worse for your mental health than unemployment.

The writer Johann Hari argues in his new book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, there are nine causes of depression and anxiety: two biological, and seven that relate to the world we live in. And one that falls into the latter category is meaningless work.

In light of this finding, it’s important in your job search and career path to think about the kind of work you would find meaningful.

The Mental Health Impact of Meaningless Work

In an article for the Huffington Post about his new book, Hari writes:

“If you find your work meaningless and you feel you have no control over it, you are far more likely to become depressed.”

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Master’s: Balancing work and studies

My name is Natasha and I am currently undertaking MA History – Medieval and Renaissance pathway at QMUL; I also took my BA in Medieval History at QMUL. Additionally, I work part-time for Careers & Enterprise as an Employer Engagement Assistant. Below are my thoughts on working and studying part-time.

Balancing work & studies

After some deliberating, I decided to study for my Master’s degree part-time. I knew that I had to find a way to support myself financially, particularly if I wanted to stay living in London; but I knew that studying full-time and working part-time wasn’t the best idea. I did not see any point in rushing through my studies and not giving it my all as working would inevitably be an obstacle – and even now, balancing work and studies is difficult. It is very important to plan your time wisely: make sure that on the days that you aren’t working, you have a study plan for what you want – and need – to achieve on those days when you are focusing solely on your Master’s. Sometimes this isn’t easy, particularly if you cannot find the motivation, or you have a day where you turn up no results – but persevere and take the time to re-charge your batteries, it is certainly easy to over-do things.

Challenges

Which leads me nicely to the challenges. Trust me when I tell you that your work/life balance will take a real dip. When I am not working, I use my ‘free’ time to study, and this means that I find it hard to stay in contact and socialise with friends and family. This really is something to be aware of as you, as well as them, will feel isolated. But, by planning your time effectively, it is entirely possible to give yourself a few hours off to let your hair down – and this is essential, particularly for your own well-being.

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