Ironically, as my work becomes more important it seems to me to be of less importance. Counter-intuitive, but even as I do something that influences the decision-makers such that it directly impacts the bottom line, I can't call it rewarding because I have trouble seeing the excitement of the bottom line. I'm ashamed to admit that I feel more passion for sports teams than companies; a Reds loss is harder to take than a quarterly loss, even though the latter could directly impact me by my losing my job!
What's with that?
I think that the key is to see a job as attractive to the extent it does more than just feed yourself and your family. To the extent you give to charity it gives greater meaning to the job, although that requires a constant keen appetite for helping people, something not easily maintained. An example is my in-laws. They are sitting precariously financially, mostly through their own free choice, such that it gives greater motivation to save not only for our retirement but for others' in the family. On the other hand, when my appetite for helping others is not keen I'm more of a "spend it now, before everyone will have a claim to it". Including the government. (Of course, God has the true claim to it all.) Reading Ben Stein's book, poverty looks like "the new black" when social security is cut back drastically and pension plans begin to fail, as he argues will.
According to Sister Donna Markahm, OP, a strong sense of mission is necessary :
If persons felt that they were simply part of a service delivery system, they were at far greater risk of becoming victims of burnout... regardless of all the efforts made to ensure a healthy workplace environment.Mission makes it, I suppose. The old way they put out fires was to have the town gather and each person passes a bucketful of water to the one next to them. A service delivery system, if you will, each person sees little impact of their individual efforts but the burning house provides much impetus.
As a lover of things systematized, I'm a sucker for levels and staircases and stepladders and interior castles. The last is a reference to St. Teresa's great work, which desribes the way to holiness, and even though I'm usually drive to despair by this type of literature since I’m inevitably at square one. But this one so far is encouraging in some ways. (Though Steven Riddle mentioned that the levels are not sequential and that you can bounce all around them, which pretty much means that you can't really systemize them can you?) It seems that through the first three levels we have to seek, to put in the sweat, blood and tears, and it’s only the 4th-7th mansions where God takes a very active role, even though there is a lot of suffering in the 6th mansion. This seems perfectly in tune with reality.
Chesterton had London (see post above), and we have Manhattan. My everyman’s book of the Poetry of New York (redundant title?) still holds sway. I can recall the fresh breeze from our perch atop a double-decker bus and the reassuring rumble and rhythm of bus and tour guide. I recall the bliss of the panels of the New York Public Library periodical room, fested with murals of NYC landmarks, which I pledged to re-visit after the tour was over but had not the time. (Still, sometimes the momentariness of a memory freezes it more permanently than had you lingered.)
I remember the gargantuan breakfasts at the hotel buffet, how good the eggs were, the cereal and the fruit and the omelette and… I never was one much for breakfast, my father being the one for that, and now here I am a fellow afficiando. I was merely behind him chronologically. (The Monday after NY we went to Bob Evans at 1pm for breakfast(!) and it was heavenly.) I suppose we become our fathers, though my mother's pessimism that makes me think we inherit the weak points of both.
I recall all the people swarming outside the hotel. You felt like you were in a movie, like you could just hang out outside the hotel and have entertainment enough. At night the amazing lights of Time Square were like a permanent fireworks display. It was like the mezmering colored lights of a Christmas tree times a thousand.