MCI Management Center Innsbruck (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 5108-5116
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.1054
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
When degree programs end, most students tend to deal with the same questions: What shall I do with my life? What am I supposed to do? What is my purpose? What do I want from this life? In a world full of uncertainty about what one should do with one´s life, this paper is intended to delve deep into studying and answering what makes work meaningful. Today there are many possibilities of what profession to pursue and therefore we were interested in understanding why people choose certain jobs and what makes them satisfied and successful. After an extensive literature review, the following research question came up: Why do individuals consider their work as meaningful?

A diverse sample of eleven Generation Y members in Tyrol, Austria has been interviewed to investigate the important factors necessary to feel that their life’s work holds meaning. Therefore in-depth episodic interviews were conducted. The interviews were structured in the categories: personal background, influence factors for career change, goals and personal values, the role of work, a definition of meaningful work, the development of work, and finally, the key factors for living a meaningful and successful life were examined. According to the interviews and the chosen evaluation method circular deconstruction, the following attributes occurred as important characteristics like significance, self-realization, a broader purpose, a job which fits one´s passions, enables personal development and provides flexibility were mentioned many times in the interviews. Furthermore, earning appropriate money, working with a good team, seeing success, receiving a return on investment, engaging in decent work, having fun on the job, working with a company who cares about sustainability and the environment and getting to know inspiring people were also of special interest.

Companies are currently dealing with a lack of high potential employees, therefore the findings could help them identify what is important for the potential workforce and help them win the war for talent, which means they learn how to acquire a winning team, which is motivated and satisfied with its occupation. Furthermore, the results can help companies save money, as a happy workforce is the most productive and efficient. Companies can assess whether they are capable to maintain and attract such talent which could help the company grow and prosper in the future. What is more, educational institutions might use the findings to revise the way lectures are organized. Therefore, it might be the case that lecturers need to reevaluate the methods of examination, the format of assignments and team projects and reconsider the evaluation. For instance, there should be more types of recognition or additional incentives to boost student´s morale. Also, career centers in schools might get a better understanding what their students are looking for. It could also help to define better performance evaluation and feedback methods to keep Generation Y motivated in their workplace.
Generation Y, Meaningful Work, Positive Psychology, Career Choices.