How to Find Fulfilling Work – Roman Krznaric [Book Summary]

by Nick

If you feel that your work is a trap in which you find yourself locked up, if you want to find another one where you can realize yourself, then you are not alone. This book discusses the basic components necessary for your activity to be full of meaning and benefit; Specifies the specific steps you need to take to find a job that will bring joy and make you truly happy.

The author of the book, Roman Krznaric, according to the British newspaper The Observer, is one of the leading British popular philosophers. He teaches at The School of Life, one of the founders of which is himself; Advisor to organizations such as Oxfam and the United Nations. Among his other works are Empathy and The Wonder Box.

This book is available as:

Audiobook | eBookPrint

Learn About One of the Biggest Challenges of Our Time: Find a Job That Brings Moral Satisfaction

You may already be familiar with this scenario. You finally graduated from college, which you dreamed of for ages. To start working and making money, to enjoy your favorite activities in your free time (which used to go to study before) is all that you want.

But what really happens?

Every day you work hard and feel insignificant and exhausted. Every free minute you imagine yourself somewhere far away on a tropical island. But there is no time for pleasure and entertainment. You suspect that you are starting to turn gray quickly.

Finding a job that brings moral satisfaction is not at all easy. Today it is not only about providing material support for oneself and the family. Work means much more. You need to find an activity that will bring you moral satisfaction. In this book, the author defines the concept of work that brings moral satisfaction, and, most likely, more importantly, indicates the specific steps that you need to take to find it.

From this book you will learn:

  • what psychologists say about the grief that you experience if you do not do what is important to you;
  • what does Benjamin Franklin have to do with your career choice;
  • the pros and cons of working for yourself.

We Feel Unsatisfied if Our Expectations Regarding Work Are Not Met

Did you know that about 50 percent of Western workers do not receive moral satisfaction from their work? A study in Europe showed that 60 percent of people would now choose a different profession if they had such an opportunity. But what makes them miserable?

The dissatisfaction that we feel at work is due to the fact that our expectations are higher than ever before. Modern workers need not only high salaries: they want their work to fill their lives with meaning.

This has not always been the case. Previously, people were happy to have a roof over their heads and food on the table. But now that a large part of the population of the Western world is relatively well off and can satisfy basic needs, we are looking for more than just good money.

You feel that you are going crazy, working hard on the assembly line, and your grandfather would be pleased with this and even thankful that he can pay his bills. Today we are looking for a goal at work, we want to develop our own abilities and hobbies. Essentially, we want to work to give us moral satisfaction.

But what in this case to do? You need to either moderate your expectations (supporters of this approach believe that work is always tiring: this is not entertainment, and therefore we must moderate our expectations and seek satisfaction outside of work), or you can join those who believe that you can find a suitable job, although this requires some effort.

The latter approach inspires you to follow your dream, instead of regretting that you have never tried to get out of the shackles of activity that does not bring moral satisfaction.

Of course, we will continue to consider the second strategy! But before moving directly to the question of what makes a job meaningful, let’s try to better understand why it is so difficult to find an activity that makes sense.

The Summary you might like: The Power of Now

In Today’s World, a Huge Number of Alternatives for Choosing a Profession

Today, many experience uncertainty and confusion when they try to choose a specific activity that they will be engaged in. At the root of this confusion is that the choice is very large.

Such a huge number of alternatives is an unprecedented case in our history, and we are not prepared enough to deal with it. Several decades ago, there were not many options when choosing a profession.

Take, for example, Benjamin Franklin. At a young age of twelve, he tried to sculpt candles, and then his father decided to help him find a job. They walked along the streets together, watching what different workers do: carpenters, masons. They stopped near typography. The father of young Benjamin decided that here his son – an incorrigible book lover – could easily get a job. So in the next nine years, Benjamin worked as a printer.

If only now it were so simple. Today, when you go to a job search site, for example,, you find that there are more than 12 thousand professions. Even a quarter of this volume is difficult to simply view, not to mention choosing something. Surprisingly, we do not feel gratitude for such an abundance of opportunities. And all because psychologically we are not ready to work with so many alternatives.

In the book The Paradox of Choice, psychologist Barry Schwartz says that the result of a large number of alternatives is not a feeling of happiness and freedom, but a kind of helplessness, inability to do anything.

And even if we still make a decision, we still don’t feel satisfaction. Why? Despite the fact that a decision has been made, rejected options continue to hide in the background of our consciousness. Have we made the right choice? But what if you make a mistake? We are haunted by the idea that we made the wrong choice.

It is Not Easy to Abandon the Activity That We Are Already Engaged in, but if It Does Not Bring You Satisfaction, Change It!

Sometimes the problem is not the need to choose one of the many possible options, but the feeling that you are trapped in a certain activity. In this case, the most difficult thing is to change something. We feel that we are stuck because we spent a lot of time and energy on training, which provided us with a certain job – the one that we are currently unhappy with. What to do?

All previous decisions that led us to a certain occupation – this is a powerful force, keeps us trapped in the once chosen type of activity. As a result, we feel bound by past education. The fact is that we had to choose a future occupation too early. How can an eighteen-year-old school graduate know what kind of work will suit him and will correspond to his interests and abilities?

Most of us have gone through this. When you were a teenager, your parents said that you need to study law and medicine. But then you got older, got to know yourself better, grew and changed; and when you were around thirty, you realized that you really would like to study music or psychology.

But once choosing a certain type of activity, it is very difficult to change it. All these years and the money spent on education!

If you want to change your occupation, you must rebuild your brain and overcome this psychological difficulty. Think of it as choosing what to regret: either you will repent that you quit a job in which you invested so much energy and time, or that you did not have the courage to try to change something for a better future.

Perhaps this will help you decide. Psychological research has shown that regretting what has not been done to achieve something important in life is one of the most destructive emotions you may experience. Therefore, the right decision is to try yourself in another activity.

Money and Status Do Not Bring Such Moral Satisfaction as We Think

What makes a job full of meaning and satisfaction? The traditional and predictable answer is “money and status”. But is it really so?

Indeed, bills have to be paid with something, but as a pure factor of happiness, money is not very effective. Numerous studies by scientists have shown that there is no direct link between happiness and wealth.

There is evidence that a monetary contribution to your well-being has a limit – it is the satisfaction of your basic needs. Above this point, the value of money for moral satisfaction is small. This is due to the psychological mechanism called the hedonic treadmill. We get a new product, for example, a widescreen TV, but we quickly get used to it and get tired of it. This creates a new need, and we are buying a larger TV with a better screen, hoping that it will make us happy. Thus, we fall into a vicious circle of desires, which has no end.

Therefore, money is the wrong answer to the question. But what about the social status and recognition of others? Indeed, we all love recognition. The path to a higher status, however, is also dotted with traps. So, we force ourselves to do what other people will appreciate. We ourselves value ourselves through the eyes of others, instead of working on what we want.

The next trap is that having reached a certain status, for example, an increase, we see that there is even higher status, and we are striving for a new position. And then to the new one, until again we find ourselves on the endless, unsatisfying “treadmill” of desires of that which we do not have.

Change Gives a Sense of Meaning, Although It is Difficult to Connect With Entrepreneurship

At the heart of job satisfaction are three main elements. One of them is the feeling that your work makes sense and what you do has a positive effect on the world.

When students are asked what they expect from future work, they often reply: “I want to change something.” But what do they mean and how do they intend to do this?

We tend to feel more satisfied with work when we know that it benefits the planet and humanity. It makes us happier. One ethical study proves that people who are confident that their work benefits the community also feel greater moral satisfaction. But people seeking to connect ethical standards with business often fail: ethics and business seem to be incompatible. However, these are not mutually exclusive things.

Take, for example, Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop. We believe that the Body Shop is a company producing cosmetics for hair and skincare, the activity of which is aimed at achieving positive social changes. Anita Rodic initially managed to combine business and ethics: she posted photos of missing people

on the company’s trucks, founded a magazine that homeless people sold, advocated fair trade, buying ingredients for her products from the indigenous people of Brazil.

Following Your Hobbies and a Sense of Creativity Will Make You Happy

Sharing our career ideas with friends and family, we may have heard from them more than once that we need to do what we like. This wise statement is encouraging, but it is easier said than done. The problem is to find an activity that we really like.

To find what you have a penchant for, think about what makes you feel a surge of creative energy?

The feeling of creative uplift (or surge of creative energy) is a state of complete concentration when you are so absorbed in what you do that you forget about everything in the world.

Doing what you like is usually accompanied by that feeling. People feel this state, engaging in very different activities, depending on their unique combination of abilities and inclinations.

This can be playing the piano, public speaking, building something, doing yoga, programming or surgery. Interestingly, surgeons who need full concentration in complex operations often say that they lose their sense of time, and it flies faster than usual.

There is a lot of evidence that a sense of creativity is important for happiness in life and at work because it gives us moral satisfaction and allows us to fully reveal our potential.

So, if you are bogged down in a work that never gives you a feeling of a surge of creative energy, think about doing other activities where you can achieve this feeling. Here are two ways to find a similar job.

Try a conversational search. He suggests that you will simply ask different people about their work. Do not ask for much; Find out if they experienced a state of creative enthusiasm.

You can observe yourself and your own sense of creative enthusiasm. Get that feeling every day. Perhaps you like to write? Or do you experience this condition when you cook for your guests on the weekend?

If You Want Work That Brings Moral Satisfaction, You Must Strive for Freedom.

The reason why many people are burdened with work is the following: they return home late when there is no more energy to do what they really like, and the next day will be exactly the same. If you are filled with sympathy, then you, of course, are not alone. Many feel that they are trapped in disgusting work.

An important component of moral satisfaction from work is the availability of free space, that is, the ability to make decisions independently. The wider your freedom of action, the happier you are. What can you do? As for work, there are two ways to expand freedom.

The first way is self-employment, which, of course, has both advantages and disadvantages.

One of the advantages is that such an activity gives you more chances to feel creative inspiration and enthusiasm than floundering in ordinary work. Studies by the British Work Foundation show that 47 percent of self-employed workers think they are very satisfied with their work, but only 17 percent of those who are self-employed.

But, of course, such a job has flaws. Self-employed people carry certain financial risks, work in the evenings and on weekends; they do not have regular leave or sick leave, promotion.

The second option for expanding freedom is to try to work less.

Why don’t you work four days a week instead of five? You can use your free day to do what you really like or spend more time with your family.

This may seem unrealistic from a financial point of view, but if you set out to cut back unnecessary expenses and spend less time and money on something that is not really needed, then you will not have to work in such a way that there is no time to enjoy life.

Overcoming your fear and narrowing your circle of choices are the first two steps on the path to work that brings moral satisfaction

Now that you know what work is satisfying, let’s go directly to the part of the task that many of us are struggling with – finding a job that delivers moral satisfaction.

The first difficulty is to overcome the fear that accompanies the thought of changing the main occupation. However, if you are fully aware of the psychological mechanisms that cause this fear, you can overcome it.

Why does this fear arise? One of the reasons is our psychological attitude to risk. Psychologists have found that by nature a person is afraid of losses twice as much as he longs for gain. Therefore, we are not risk-averse and concentrate more on possible negative rather than positive consequences.

But instead of being afraid of risk and letting fear dictate your conditions to you, remember that you may be exaggerating it in your negative thoughts. Try to believe that the risk is negligible!

Next, think about what type of activity you will like. To do this, you need to take three steps.

First, review your previous activities. What qualifications and skills have you acquired and mastered? What motivated you to do this?

Secondly, do a thought experiment. Imagine that you can lead five different lives in five parallel galaxies, and on each you are completely free to choose what to do. What activities would you choose for yourself? Can you do it in real life?

Thirdly, ask your friends what work they think you could succeed in. Sometimes others may be better judges in this matter than you yourself. Ask for a specific answer. For example, “helping homeless children in Rio de Janeiro” is a more useful answer than, for example, “anything related to children.”

In order to find work that brings moral satisfaction, you must abandon pedantic planning and test everything in practice

Most career counselors advise clients to plan their future activities in great detail before starting to do something. The problem with this approach is that it almost never works.

A much more effective approach is to follow the rule: “do more – think less”, which means that it is better to try several professions than spend hours looking for a suitable job on paper or online.

Recent studies have shown that significant changes are best seen with “experimental learning.” Recall Laura Vann Bowshet. When she was about thirty years old, she began to suffer from thoughts about the fact that her work was not morally satisfying. Since the career manager was at a loss, Laura took everything into her own hands and conducted an experiment. During the year, she tried more than 30 different activities to find the one that suits her best. Laura talked with people who, in her opinion, enjoyed their work, and asked if she could do the same.

She was completely immersed in any activity, starting from photography and ending with an internship in the European Parliament.

A full vacation, which Laura organized herself, gave her the freedom necessary to try a large number of professions, through internships or on a voluntary basis. But if in your case this is not feasible, you can try a different approach.

A less radical approach is “temporary employment”. For example, if you miss your current job and amuse yourself with the idea of ​​becoming a yoga trainer, you can try to do this on weekends. If it turns out that it turns out what you were hoping for, you can gradually increase the hours of yoga, leaving, in the end, a boring work that you never liked.

And finally, there is a “conversational” search. It is simple but very effective: communicate with those people whose work you are interested in. Ask them to describe the working day in detail and see if you can do the same.

There Are Various Ways to Make Work and Family Life Satisfying.

When it comes to careers and families, most of us tend to have both. We want to enjoy the work, and at the same time successfully arrange a family life, to be parents. But is it possible? And, if possible, how to organize this?

Start by rethinking the traditional roles that are assigned to man and woman; if you have not already done so, you must realize that father and mother are equal partners.

Over the past few decades, there has been a rise in emancipation, but nevertheless, it is often believed that a woman should take on the bulk of the housework and childcare. Thus, as a rule, women, not men, sacrifice careers for the sake of the family.

Parents should be equal partners and help each other, instead of forcing mom to be torn between work and home.

You should also choose between family and career, rather than trying to succeed everywhere. First of all, become a good parent, and after that, pursue a career.

When a couple has a child, one of the parents (usually the mother) shortens the hours of work, which is regarded as the fact that she will devote herself to the family. But often, such families cannot succeed, either in work or in the family, because they cannot fully concentrate on one thing. They cannot succeed in part-time work and cannot fully devote themselves to children.

Look at parenting in a different way. They can lead to such a decline in your career, which you had never imagined before. Brian Campbell, a Canadian single father of four sons, left his scientific career to raise children. Trying to introduce them to nature, he got evidence. As a result, he became the owner of a small honey farm (in addition to a few clues within the city) and opened beekeeping courses.

Take your time: call cannot be found overnight, it develops gradually

We studied almost everything about how to find a job that will bring moral satisfaction. But another important element remains – this is your vocation.

Why is it important? Vocation is that which gives work meaning, its integrity. This is the strategic goal you want to achieve; this is what makes you get out of bed every day.

For example, if you are a medical researcher, your goal might be a cure for lung cancer. If you are committed to protecting the environment, blooming cities and reducing air pollution can be your dream. If you are a writer, you can aim to write the greatest novel since Ulysses by J. Joyce.

Although calling brings meaning to your life, it is hard to find. And all because we adhere to certain, initially incorrect ideas about the nature of calling.

Most people believe that there is one great job waiting for them and that it will open suddenly, in some kind of flash of inspiration. Or, that vocation needs to belong and hard sought. But this is not happening.

You will not suddenly stumble over your calling: it is formed within you, gradually growing in the course of practical activity.

Recall Maria Curie. Arriving in Paris at age 24, penniless in her pocket, only with her talent, she began medical research; Then she took up physics and chemistry. She was completely absorbed in her work and spent 12 hours a day in the laboratory, surviving toward the end of the month on one sandwich a day. Then she began

to study the radiation of uranium. The more she became interested in him, the more her vocation developed until she realized that she wanted to devote her life to the study of the secrets of radiation. She did this and in 1903 became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize.

Therefore, you do not need to demand that your calling be revealed immediately. Instead, work and let it form based on your experience.

The Final Words

Today, when everything is confusing, and it is difficult to choose a profession, high salaries and social status are no longer the determining factors. We want our work to make sense, be important, give us freedom of action and bring a state of creative enthusiasm. To achieve this, we must abandon careful planning, try everything in practice, take on certain risks and learn from our own experience.

Write an advertising text about yourself for the device to work.

Step one. Imagine that you need to advertise yourself in a newspaper. Describe your qualities, inclinations, abilities, and minimum expectations for future work. Do not go into details and do not indicate the specific name of the work.

Step Two. Send this ad 10 to your friends. Let it be people of different professions: from a policeman to a cartoonist. Ask them to name the three activities that are most suitable for you.

Why You Should Read “How to Find Fulfilling Work”

  • To stop being tired of your work and being afraid to quit
  • To try yourself in new activities
  • To find a more meaningful life path to follow

This book is available as:

Audiobook | eBookPrint