It seems to me if we are working 8+ hours each day, that work should add meaning to our lives and thus make us feel fulfilled, satisfied and happy. Leaders lead first by example (find meaning in their own work) and then by inspiring others to find meaning in their own work. What are the characteristics of meaningful work? Here are 10 characteristics:

1. It doesn't feel like work. First of all work that is meaningful doesn't feel like work at all. To outsiders it may look like work but to you it is something you enjoy and want to do.

2. It is aligned with your values. Values are those ideas and beliefs that matter most to us. They are the traits or qualities that you really care about. When you work from your values you feel fulfilled and happier.

3. It contributes to your vision. A vision is a picture you have in your mind's eye of what you want to have in your work and your life. If your work helps you to reach that vision, it will be more satisfying.

4. It uses your unique set of gifts. The work depends on you and your talents. Success in the work depends on your contribution.

5. You feel like you are making a contribution to the world. There are two levels to a vision. One is what you see for yourself and your immediate family and the other is a more encompassing one. It is one that helps a larger population in some significant way.

6. You have a passion for what you are doing. There is something about the work that gives you energy, enthusiasm and genuine excitement. It is that spark that makes the work enjoyable and fun.

7. You feel adequately rewarded for what you do. Compensation for the work done is not always monetary. If those you work for don't feel the work is important, it may create doubt in you. A good leader will tell you how important your work is and show you with remuneration. Satisfaction also comes from the end result which is a reward in itself.

8. You are proud of what you have accomplished. Whatever work you are doing must be done in a way that you feel pride in what you do.

9. You are expressing your life purpose. Whether you know your life purpose or not if the work is meaningful to you, you are expressing that purpose in some way. Some people use their positive work and life experiences to find their life purpose. Those who know their life purpose might look for a job that will be suitable vehicle to express their purpose.

10. You have a core of people who believe in what you are doing. Since you are not working in a vacuum there must at least a couple of people who support what you are doing and believe in your work. Part of being rewarded for what you do comes from others who are enthusiastic about you and your work.

Author's Bio: 

Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor (The Attorneys’ Coach) and a Career Changers’ Coach as well as publisher of "Parker’s Points", an email tip list and "Road to Success", an ezine. Subscribe now to these free monthly publications at her website and receive a values assessment as a gift. This assessment will identify your top 4 values. Working from your values makes the work more meaningful and fulfilling.