The Saturday Read – Roman Krznaric ‘How to Find Fulfilling Work’

This week’s Saturday Read is a small, yet significant work by ‘lifestyle philosopher’ Roman Krznaric. In ‘How to Find Fulfilling Work’ he suggests “We have entered a new age of fulfillment, in which the great dream is to trade up from money to meaning.” Think about that. He is proposing that meaning has more value than money.

There are shelves of books that are categorized as career guides. Only two or three are worth the price. I found this one on a visit to the small bookshop at the School of Life in London.

You’re not going to find your passion in six or fewer easy steps, and there is a rather narrow niche of folks who can make a living from a four hour work week. There is no gimmick in Mr. Krznaric’s narrative, only a well thought out work that draws from the disciplines of sociology, psychology, history and philosophy.

If you are the reader who has found that meaning holds more weight than dollar signs, this book is for you.

“The desire for fulfilling work – a job that provides a deep sense of purpose, reflects our values, passions and personality – is a modern invention…For centuries, most inhabitants of the Western world were too busy struggling to meet their subsistence needs to worry about whet they had an exciting career that used their talents and nurtured their wellbeing. But today, the spread of material prosperity has freed our minds to expect much more from the adventure of life.”

The author distinguishes between two approaches people take to finding work:

“The first is grin and bear it… The message of the ‘grin and bear it’ school of thought is that we need to accept the inevitable and put up with whatever job we can get, as long as it meets our financial needs and leaves us enough time to pursue our ‘real life’ outside of office hours.”

“I am more hopeful than this , and subscribe to a different approach, which is that it is possible to find work that is life-enhancing, that broadens our horizons and makes us feel more human.”

His goal is to encourage the reader to stop thinking about taking action and actually get out and do something. The book is essentially an answer to two questions:

“What are the core elements of a fulfilling career?” and “How do we go about changing career and making the best possible decisions along the way?”

We lead multidisciplinary lives. It makes sense to approach our thoughts on career through a multifaceted portal.

Enjoy the Saturday Read, and begin your journey to find fulfilling work.

Authenticity and Alignment

Two years ago I had the opportunity to visit the School of Life in London. Located in a storefront on Marchmont Street, the school was founded in 2008 by philosopher Alain de Botton to create a space for conversation and learning around topics that aren’t necessarily taught in formal education, but critical to success in everyday life: careers, relationships, politics, travels, families.

On my visit I picked up a copy of  ‘How to Find Fulfilling Work’ by School of Life faculty member Roman Krznaric. I have read a lot of career guides, too many. But this short guide stood out from the others in the authors description: “It is a guide for helping you take your working life in new directions, and for bringing your career and who you are into closer alignment.”

We have all heard about authenticity, being who you are, not letting others define you. Just last night Sam Smith accepting the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album shared his example, “Before I made this record I was doing everything to try and get my music heard. I tried to lose weight and I was making awful music. It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen.”

There’s something to it. You have to know yourself and be yourself before you can find success.

The School of Life has posted an animated video to help you start the process of how to find fulfilling work.