Payscale asked workers in over 400 different occupations how much they are compensated and if their jobs feel meaningful. You would probably be surprised at the jobs found least meaningful but this post will focus on a real life conversation I had with a coworker over fourteen years ago about how she felt about my future career.
We are all sitting at a long, gray table in the hospital cafeteria, eating breaksfast when the African nurse Eve purse her lips, eat her toast then asks,
“What are yall going to do after this summer program is over?”
One tall boy beamed, then said proudly, “I think I will stick with nursing. I love it.”
Others named their meaningful careers. Then Eve turned to me.
I said, “Either a nun or technical writer, writing how to manuals.”
“That’s not really a meaningful career, Erica. Don’t you want to do something to help someone else?”
“Well, I don’t hate people, but it is what I am passionate about. I can care for the poor in other ways.”
“I don’t know,” she says solemnly looking into my face. “I prefer to do something that is meaningful to society. Not selfish.”
Yeah. What a witch, right?
I couldn’t stomach the conversation anymore and avoided her most days after that conversation. I found myself listening to Alicia Keys on my Discman and writing poetry outside the cafeteria
Over the years I found the Golden answer as to whether writing was meaningless and you know what?
I had the epiphany while in college studying social science. I thought about textbook creators, screenwriters, poetry, educators. And the list goes on. Each of these individuals contributes something vital to this world and it began with writing.
Doctors, lawyers, and engineers used textbooks during their schooling. Textbooks are written.
Bards were called upon to sing and recite epic songs/poems during battle for encouragement and many of these were recited orally.
In order to know how to use a computer, program, or blog you read an article or how- to book. That was written.
And finally, the Bible. The most loved and hated literature of all time that has inspired movies, books, debates, theological learning systems, baby names, etc- was written.
Even nurse Eve’s learning came from textbooks that were written!
So when someone comes up to me and asks me, “Is your job meaningful?”
I will say, “Extremely. Now hurry and go check that email/text/IM you’ve been ignoring…”
*This post may contain affiliate links which means they will direct you to a third party site for more information and I am paid a teeny tiny percentage off that order. Hey, starving writer here!