Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What motivates you in choosing a career?

Job dissatisfaction? Having trouble paying your rent? School graduation? Some events triggering a career decision may be in your control – like school graduation. But others, like layoffs or disability, are not. Either way, you can make progress towards choosing a career that meets your needs by looking at what motivates you.

First, make sure you do the suggested exercises in our article, “Learn More About Yourself.”

Second, think about how your career needs fit into respected psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”. This diagram of the hierarchy, courtesy of Wikipedia, may help you prioritize and put your career criteria in perspective.

To give you some ideas, I applied career choice to Maslow's hierarchy, from the bottom up:

Physiological: physical and mental ability to do the job, income helps you meet your physical needs (food, water, shelter)
Safety: positive job outlook and security, doing what is morally comfortable
Belonging: being part of a team, professional network, community
Esteem: pride in your work, your career, and confidence in your abilities
Self-Actualization: reaching your potential and maximizing your life experience

See how your matching career options fit with Maslow’s 5 categories of needs. While no career is perfect, your final career choice should meet your needs in all these areas.

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