Meaningful Work for Water Professionals
On February 28. 2011, the Meaningful Work Project participated in the Canadian Water Network’s annual conference in Ottawa, entitled, Connecting Water Resources 2011. As a pre-workshop for young professionals attending the conference, the day-long workshop offered a dynamic and engaging session to inspire participants on their own journey toward meaningful work within the water or other sectors.
Asking the question, “How can we make money and change the world?” participants engaged in fun and instigating activities while interacting with each other to prepare for the conference and move forward in their personal life and career goals with greater clarity.
Mike Unrau, Project Director with the Meaningful Work Project, led the day and invited the talents of participants to co-create an interactive learning experience focused on knowledge-sharing, brainstorming, and building future capacity for social innovation, specifically with connections to the water sector and water-focused professionals. The participants reflected on their own roles and potential as agents of social and environmental change, and shared their ideas/vision for their own meaningful work through specific activities.
The day was broken up into three areas of focus and engagement: interactive physical exercises to entice body wisdom and metaphoric reflection on meaningful issues, a discussion on recent trends and research of meaning in the work sector, and finally activities to focus participants into developing an action plan to understanding of their own place in the social innovation or green job sector. All through the day participants developed declarative skills in a group setting and well as through individual introspection.
“We learn in so many different modalities,” says Unrau. “We explored visceral exercises for kinetic learners, discussed research for linear thinkers, and group activities for those who learn best in interpersonal reflection.” Participants commented throughout the day how fun and engaging the activities were. “Many games and exercises were interactive, where participants actually got up from their chairs and engaged with others in an enjoyable and innovative way.” However, Unrau suggests, there was still a serious underlying current to the interactions. “The games then became powerful physical metaphors for underlying themes of what it means to find meaningful work. Issues were explored such as privilege, oppression, and purpose.”
With an overarching focus on hosting innovative learning opportunities, the Meaningful Work Project offers this workshop format as well as other custom educational sessions to organizations and companies. Meaningful Work Project staff Mike Unrau and Alla Guelber would be eager to work collaboratively with your organization, whether you are focusing on employees, students or clients, and keep encouraging individuals and organizations to carve their own path towards meaningful work.