Why is it important to “find meaning” in our work? Finding meaning and purpose in work energizes us and increases our productivity. Re-discovering those things that we are most passionate about is a powerful way to recalibrate our work and career plans. If we allow our work to define us, it eventually becomes a challenge to enjoy, let alone find meaning in, our work. When we’re connected to meaning and passion, our work output increases and we bring energy and excitement to the workplace. Our value as an employee grows.
Passion and engagement define great employees and team members. The passion that you bring is extremely valuable -- beyond the skills, it is what got most of us hired in the first place. Once you re-ignite your passion, how can you increase your value in other ways? Begin to build your brand.
Dust off those “Hard Skills,” those things you were trained to do. A great place to start is to use someone that doesn’t know you or your role for this: they can bring industry insight and objectivity to boost your own perceptions of skill value, they identify talents you haven’t used, and they help you identify the things that make you most proud.
Make room for new “Soft Skills.” Ironically, we all need some training in these as well! By learning to relate through common experiences, common language, and common goals, your brand becomes outward and understood by the people that need your talent and will welcome your passion.
Invest in people, building your network one relationship at a time. Relationships are a deliverable; they represent an incredible value that is completely unique to you. Learn to relate over time, investing your time in ways that contribute to other people. This investment, daily over coffee, always returns far more value over time.
Ed Eckenstein is the founder and principal consultant of Smartly Secured, LLC. Ed is a trainer and coach with experience in cybersecurity. He holds Security+ and SSCP certifications and has an M.A. degree in Information and Learning Technologies from the University of Colorado Denver. Ed serves as a board member of the Oklahoma InfraGard Chapter. He is an adjunct instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City where he teaches personal computer security awareness. Ed is a public speaker and gives talks on behalf of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and AARP's Fraud Watch Program.
With 20 years in technology, Kurt Haas continues to be driven by his initial passion: connecting and sharing with people. Kurt is currently Cloud Architect at QuikTrip in Tulsa, active in the Ozark STEM Foundation, and has learned a ton from his previous roles as a public school teacher, application developer, product manager, cloud architect, enterprise architect, board member, and non-profit co-founder. A father, husband, and incredibly popular blues band member, Kurt spends his spare time on the couch.