I read a lot. Books, blog posts, tweets; whatever is written I’m reading it. I’m interested in the meaning of work right now. Why we do what we do, how we can make our personal work better and how that can affect the economy as a whole. One of the recurring themes in my readings is finding meaning. Meaning being the why of work. What does your work or company stand for, why are you doing the work you do and whether you need to care about your work in order for it to have meaning.
I work at AOL. That brand has immediate meaning for so many folks. Internally however, its a different story. One of our struggles right now is that AOL doesn’t mean anything for its employees. We work under a broad corporate ethos of “to inform and connect the world.” That has no real meaning. I’d love for AOL to take a stand. Be the voice of something and let that be where all our voice comes from. The disjointed editorial of our hundreds of sites divides us rather than unites us. If we’re to be a New York Times, Fox News or CNN of the web, we need a singular editorial meaning that informs everything we do. We need to get to “this is not an AOL story” and reject items.
Finding meaning can be difficult. It requires really looking at your work or plans and making difficult decisions about what stays and what goes. Focus on the core of your work, labor towards those ends and you will find the definition of your work.
I’m trying to get there everyday and hope you are on the journey too.