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So when I think about the things that allow me to get meaning out of what I do, I’m really thinking
about the things that make it worth investing my life in.
I mean the things beyond ‘making a living’ and supporting my family and giving my kids
(Hannah, 18, Zoe, 15) a comfy, fun, happy, interesting childhood.(These are big things
and maybe ought to be good enough answers to the meaning question. But I’m looking
for more here).
I’m looking for the things that give me fulfilment and a sense that this work is worthwhile.
Things that make me feel I needn’t be embarrassed about spending my days and weeks and years doing it.
So here are those things for me. They may not be the same for you.
But they’re the things that make me glad to do what I do.
Work in which the solution to the problem is far from obvious at the outset.
Where a good solution may be the first thing that pops into my head, but a
great solution is one that takes a bit of sweat.
This makes it really important that I choose clients who demand great work.
Because mediocre work is stultifying.
6. I like honest work that asks me to build a great case for my clients.
Not work that asks me to manipulate the target audience with bullshit.
(“Good mothers choose this fabric softener.” “Real men wear this watch.”)
This means it’s really, really important that I avoid working for any client whose business
is based on anything less than delivering real value to its customers.
7. I like figuring out how the business of business actually works.
Call me a geek but, to me, this gigantic economy we all operate in is actually kind of fascinating.
A business is like an organism in the ecosystem of the wider economy.
And some thrive and some die and I really like trying to figure out why.
I love getting an inside view into different markets and ‘value chains’ and individual companies.
And I’m especially interested in the alchemy of success and the mystery of great corporate cultures.
To be honest, I’m even fascinated by sad, inefficient, counter-productive dysfunctional cultures.
(I just don’t want to hang out in them for too long.)
And all this means it’s really important to choose clients who are open about everything
and who see us as partners not just suppliers.
Because if they’re not open, I can’t indulge in my hobby.