Work is central to human existence. As a major life activity, some turn to work as a source of meaning in life, while other struggle to be satisfied with the job conditions they endure. But what creates meaningfulness in work? Why do some workers in the same profession feel different levels of satisfaction? Is the identity that is discovered or imposed on workers what makes them feel a sense of fulfillment? Or the sense of belonging and solidarity workers feel with one another? Is reward alone enough to satisfy workers? Are some professions really more meaningful than others?

Given that work is a necessity for sustaining a living, questioning it may seem trivial; however, what needs further investigation is how workers experience work as meaningful. The purpose of this study is to understand how work becomes meaningful to workers, specifically when working on a college campus. Studying how various workers actively make work meaningful is important because work is at the center of human life, and actively living meaningful lives is a priority for many. Conducting this research will enable a better understanding of the emotional and moral sides of working on an elite private college campus. This research will not only provide leaders and organizations with an explanation for employee motivation and attachment to work, but may also allow workers to be more conscious of how to lead “meaningful” lives. Doing this research will cultivate more insight on the relationship between certain factors and job satisfaction, as well as social conditions that contribute to these experiences.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Stephen Ellingson


Access to this thesis is limited to Hamilton College, Clinton, NY.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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