In the past decade a spate of new-agers have hit the popular press with articles, magazines and coaching seminars urging you that life is too short to do work you don't love, and that it's time to "reinvent your life," "follow your bliss," and "find meaningful work" etc. etc. As I've posted before, I personally think "meaning" is something we have to bring to our work. We do this when we actively seek to 1) use and grow our skills, and 2) make a contribution.
The Brazen Careerist has some career encouragement for us in this regard - she says you don't need to love your job in order to be happy. In her recent post The Connection Between a Good Job and Happiness is Overrated she reports on recent research from the field of Positive Psychology, noting that asking a job to solve our unhappiness problems is asking too much of a job. instead, she says that the traits of work that make someone happy are that it:
1. stretches a person without defeating him
2. provides clear goals
3. provides unambiguous feedback
4. provides a sense of control
And she encourages you not to wait on a company or a boss to give you these 4 traits, but to go out there and create them yourself:
"But don’t panic if you can’t find a job like this, because when these traits do not exist in a job, people will often figure out how to add them back in and give the job meaning in their lives. For example, “hairdressers often see themselves as the confidants of clients they like, and they will fire clients they don’t…And there are janitors at a hospital who held patients’ hands, brightening their day as well as scrubbing their rooms.”"
In short, we can make our own happiness at work. I think that's great news, don't you?!