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3 Tips for Building a Career With Meaning

The process of putting together PayScale's data package, The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs made one thing very clear: there are an infinite number of paths to a job that really satisfies, and no two careers will look exactly alike, even if the worker in each case loves his or her job.

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(Photo Credit: Public Domain Archive)

So how can you forge a career path that will be meaningful to you? Keep the following in mind:

1. Not every job needs to save the world.

First jobs, transitional jobs, jobs that you take just because you need the cash -- everyone's had at least one of these. Sometimes, you just need a job. In the post-recession economy, just being employed puts you head and shoulders above other candidates for your dream position. Don't knock yourself down because you aren't curing the common cold right this very minute.

2. Not every person needs to get their life's meaning from work.

If you like the people you work with, and your work is engaging and pays enough to live on, that might be enough. At the beginning of his career, Einstein was a patent clerk. Wallace Stevens worked for an insurance company for over 40 years, eventually becoming a vice president and turning down a teaching job at Harvard to keep his post. If you want to keep your job and your passion separate, that's totally OK.

3. You can learn something from any job.

Even the worst gig can teach you what you don't want in a career, and that's no small thing. Most other jobs -- the middle-of-the-road, neither awful nor amazing types of things we often have for the bulk of our career -- can help you learn new skills and new ways of communicating with people. You never know: the job you take just for the paycheck might open you up to a whole new career path you'd never anticipated.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you find meaning from your work, or from your life outside of work? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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