All Work is Meaningful Work

I'm working with a client in the grocery biz, and I asked managers to collect stories about memorable moments with guests. I'm collating and going through them this week, and I've cried every time. Stories of bakers, service deli clerks, meat cutters, and checkers doing things like delivering groceries to homes, giving guests rides home because their car broke down, getting together last-minute Thanksgiving dinners for struggling families, finding a way to bake 100 dozen donuts for refinery workers.

I always say that the phrase "meaningful work" is redundant. All work is meaningful if we are bringing our full selves to it and providing for ourselves and our families.

I'm especially inspired today by everyone who works in customer service, finding the energy to dig deep and keep serving and smiling even when things are hard or less than rewarding.

Mike Rowe (of "Dirty Jobs" fame) advises vocational seekers not to follow your passion, but to "bring it with you." In the career coaching I do, my clients can labor under the idea that there's a job out there that will completely satisfy their every longing or utilize their every gift or strength. The bad news? There isn't such a thing. The good news? You probably have what it takes to be happy and fulfilled in more settings than you might imagine.

These amazing grocery store employees have reminded me of that, especially the reality that our most profound and fulfilled moments usually come when we are serving others.