In nature, there are many components which go in to having a plant come through the earth in spring. In order for career ideas to come into fruition, many components are also needed, so let’s start at the beginning. Why do we work?
In 1943, Psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced and articulated a Hierarchy of Needs which provided a framework for understanding our motivations and that each level needs to be fulfilled before moving on to another level. These needs help us understand why we work and while these definitions aren’t exhaustive, they can give you a sense of why you work, even if you have never thought about this before.
These are the various reasons we work listed from the most basic to the most enlightened:
-Physical/Physiological: food, water, shelter, clothes
-Safety/Security: family, safety, stability, health, note that many individuals keep a particular job with a particular employer because it provides the basic and/or extended health benefits required to maintain health
-Social: belonging, connectedness, family, friends, you know that when a person loses their job, sometimes one of the most challenging parts is the people they lose
-Esteem: self-esteem, self-worth, respect, achievement, confidence, recognition and accomplishment or productivity, the feeling of accomplishment that comes from getting a job done
-Cognitive: knowledge and curiosity, learning, engaging the intellect, engaging the brain
-Aesthetic: pursuit of beauty, creativity, self-expression
-Self-actualization: achieving individual potential, wisdom, spirituality, contribution
The reasons we work can change throughout our lives and often we first began working for money to pay for “extras” – things our parents wouldn’t pay for or to save for traveling or post-secondary education. As we leave the nest, we become, hopefully, financially responsible for our own food, shelter, water and clothing and change our reasons for working.
Next week, we’ll look at how life stages impact the choices we make around work. In the meantime, think about why you work and if those reasons catapult you out of bed with joy each day. If not, what can you do to change that?
If you’d like an assessment to give you some ideas regarding how to thrive at work, click here. If you are concerned about what your teen is going to do after high school, click here for my free list of options.