Ethix Forum – Issue 54

Do you find your work meaningful, making use of your abilities? Or is your work boring or meaningless? Please describe your work in one or both of these ways.

I love the fact that I can use my skills to solve business problems. I am also able to encourage and build up other employees. Sometimes, however, the bureaucracy of a large company wears me down. Decisions take longer than they should, and too many special interests interfere with the obvious right solutions.
Very Large Company

My job does not yet make good use of my abilities, but I am trying! And I am also frustrated with managing many part-time staff. It is like “herding cats.”

I have many roles including co-owner, manager, administrative, technical.
Co-Owner Retail Travel Company
10 part-time people with two owners

I tend to look at my work the same way I look at taxes. There are certain costs to being able to do work that is meaningful. Those costs include organizational politics, tactical execution of processes that don’t have any impact, endless meetings, emails and so forth. However, the ability to work on projects that have direct business and customer impact, and work with people to really make a difference in their lives, make the taxes worthwhile. While these “taxes” can be frustrating it is only when the scale tips too far that it becomes a situation that needs to be changed. While there are likely other ways to work, e.g., consulting, there are considerable benefits to being inside a company. My current company has U.S.-like taxes, so it’s OK. But if the tax rate gets above 50 percent, it will be time to consider other options.
Senior Manager
Large Company

I absolutely find my work is meaningful because I have the privilege of trying to change the culture of my company. I enjoy the challenge of a long term effort.
Member, Board of Directors
200-person company

Almost daily I feel I have made a significant decision, taught a co-worker something that will help them do their job better, or otherwise added value to the team. No job is perfect, and on rare occasions I am bored, but mostly I like my job.
Chief Operating Officer
35-person company

I enjoy helping people experience great vacations. I am also able to use my expertise in knowledge of the travel industry, and help to create a positive work environment in our office. The job is also frustrating because we are always looking for some magic “silver bullet” for a great new product or service.
Co-Owner, Chief Marketing Officer
$2 million-plus in sales travel agency

What I like about my job is that we offer pharmaceutical drugs that help people feel better. I am frustrated that the environment of my work often focuses more on the money than on helping people. This is a very competitive atmosphere.
Pharmaceutical Drug Representative
A Small Local Office of a Large Company

I like the regular communication with people in my job. And understanding the product is great as well. Sometimes I feel I might be better suited in a job that has less detail and paperwork.
Insurance Agent
A Small Local Office of a Large Company

I am a natural leader in many ways. I tend to be decisive, influential, and possess the ability to motivate others. In my position, I enjoy the aspects of my job that include these things. I grow weary of the administrative tasks associated with my job.
Utility Construction Executive
1,200-person company

I find my work challenging, making use of my abilities. There is always something new going on with new problems to solve and new things to learn. I love both solving problems and learning.
Vice President
78-person company

I find my work meaningful, and it uses some of my abilities. I am now an administrator at a church where I used to be a part of the teaching staff. I miss the hands-on work I used to do.
25-staff church

What I really enjoy about my job is helping individuals, families and organizations through complex financial problems. This often means looking at issues in a different way than they had even considered, setting clear objectives, and then working out a clear path to reach those objectives over time. Personal wealth issues can often be very emotional, and when people act emotionally the results can often be the opposite of the desired outcome or objective. I enjoy initially working with people to put the objectives and strategies in place to guide the decisions, and then being the person that helps the client to stay on track.

I also actually enjoy the complexity of the financial markets, especially in making the connection between the vast opportunities available in the markets and pairing that with the client objectives to create a high probability of meeting those objectives. The financial markets are always changing, so everyday brings a new set of challenges and opportunities to review.

As part of a larger organization I have access to vast resources for my clients, something I would not have if I were in a very small firm. However, this brings challenges of having to work with the systems and sometimes the decisions that are made for the larger entity that do not always make doing my job easier.

Overall I feel very fortunate that almost every day I go home with the feeling that I had a very positive impact on the lives of my clients by helping them to handle the many important aspects of personal wealth management in an extremely professional and disciplined manner.
Wealth Manager
Large Company

I work with two attorneys, doing administration, payroll, taxes, payables, and almost all administrative paperwork. I find my work very meaningful, using my abilities, and don’t get time to be bored or think of my work as meaningless.
Three-person law office