Twelve million of us are unemployed.
And in addition to the obvious downsides of financial hardship, fear of the future, loss of control, boredom, lack of momentum, feelings of humiliation, decline in motivation and lack of human contact, perhaps the hardest part about looking for work is the devastating affect it has on the human psyche.
Offices are where we do some of our most important existing. Work informs our identity more than most things, so it’s a primary means to express our sense of who we are. And if we lose our daily expression of that, if we don’t have a consistent platform for being creative, passionate and personal in our interactions with other human beings, there’s a noticeable emptiness that starts to grow.
Eric Maisel calls this a meaning crisis, in which meaning has leaked out and unhappiness has leaked in.
The secret is to take action on something meaningful. Anything. By deciding to bite into something and do it really well, by making the most of our talents and inner resources, we feel more alive. It’s a form of living our principles and values.
Even if it’s a tiny step, as long as it helps us create meaning in our lives, at the end of the day, it feels like we’ve met our quota of usefulness. Besides, it’s only one part of a larger repertoire of activities that are pretty much guaranteed to provide us with the experience of meaning.
The point is, without asking ourselves what tiny steps we can take, today, that will help us create meaning in our lives, it’s going to be an empty journey.
You can only do the dishes so many times in week.