I've been wanting to "make meaning" with my work for a very long time. By this I mean I've wanted to contribute to an endeavor that has a material impact on the quality of life of individuals. Look at it this way - my wife's career is raising our children, a job with true "meaning". The work that teachers do has "meaning", the same with lifeguards, crisis counselors, even crossing guards.
(Please don't write me angry notes that I'm dissing your way of life by suggesting that it doesn't have meaning to you - this is an entirely personal observation on my part around what matters to me, so don't take offense.)
A few months back I got a note from an individual with a most unusual title: "Chief Creative Officer". She was looking for someone with a very unusual background - product management plus medical plus "voice over" plus "something extra". She had a hunch I had all four.
We had a few conversations, agreed to meet in person, had a lovely chat, and I left feeling like I'd met a very creative, bright person whose company "made meaning". By the products they create and the markets they serve, they make a real difference in people's lives every day.
Well, apparently I'd made a sufficiently strong impression that further conversations ensued, and ultimately, this organization elected to extend me an invitation to join them, which I accepted gladly.
Because I'll get to "make meaning" every day.
I've left the friendly confines of traditional "software" manufacturing for a much larger overall space - one I've worked in before, but one that's changing dramatically, and one that has a real need for what I'll be making. I've weathered a change, but this time I've made a conscious decision to "make meaning" - which at the end of the day is a lot more important to me than "making software". YMMV.
More soon. One job winds down, another job starts up.