It has been an overwhelming time this past week: the Christchurch attack, George Pell's sentencing and 1.5 million children marching to demand action on climate change. One of our senators has shocked the nation with hate-inciting speech, and now a cyclone is forming off the coast of Queensland.
In times like this, it's common to feel the need to do something. Anything. Many of us begin to take stock of our contribution to our communities and to see our own lives and careers with fresh perspective.
Skills, interests, values and personality are the keys to who we are and how we work well, I remember Dr Ryan Duffy's speech at a conference a couple of years ago.
He said many people focus on "match" when considering career pathways, when in reality, we often experience constraints and restrictions that impact our pathway directly and, as such, match becomes less of a focus than the concept of "decent work."
In other words, we like to think about pursuing the best career match for us, but most of us will settle for work that is considered to be "decent" i.e. a job or career that offers safe working conditions, good hours, organisational values that complement our family and social values and adequate compensation.
Dr Duffy suggests this concept of "decent work" introduces the idea of a threshold and we find ourselves asking what we need to meet it.
Without meeting this threshold of decent work, the idea of career match is not beneficial.
In other words, if you have found a career that meets your skills, interests, values and personality needs but it is unpaid, the hours don't work for you or it is unsafe, for example, it becomes unsustainable.
However, what happens when we add another component to this equation? What happens when we want our work, our contribution to be meaningful?
In the wake of tragic, public events and with visions of people rushing to help, going to work in our regular, everyday jobs can seem devoid of purpose.
We don't have to have lived through the traumatic event to be affected by it. We can experience something called secondary traumatic stress.
While this is more common in health clinicians working with trauma victims, studies have proven it is not uncommon for people witnessing violent images and videos of traumatic events such as terrorist attacks on the TV news to experience it as well.
How we respond to these news stories has a very palpable impact on us.
For many of us, we may experience the rushed need to fix what's going wrong, to play a part in the solution, to restore hope and faith not just for our communities, but in doing so, for us, as well.
This can lead to feeling disillusioned in our (now perceived to be) mundane daily grind, to lack direction and purpose and crave the opportunity to leave a positive mark on the world around us.
However, we don't have to quit our jobs and join the ranks of emergency services for our work to be meaningful.
What many of us can benefit from is a shift in perspective.
We need to see our work as more than just the sum of its tasks.
Every job has meaning if we can only open our eyes to it.
I often see the stark difference in attitudes to jobs among my clients.
I have worked with a cleaner who hated her job, but it was all she could imagine doing because it met her decent work threshold, even though it wasn't a good match for her.
However, I have worked with another cleaner who had done the job for 35 years and loved it.
What many of us can benefit from is a shift in perspective: we need to see our work as more than just the sum of its tasks. Every job has meaning if we can only open our eyes to it.
She said to me "there is no greater feeling than knowing that when the family walks in through their front door, I've relieved them of one stress and created a welcoming home for them." Perspective is everything.
Whether you are saving lives, supporting others, providing a service or selling a product, you are making a difference to those around you.
Take a step back, see your work for its greater impact and embrace the difference you are already making.
Zoë Wundenberg is a careers writer and coach at impressability.com.au