Why do I work?
To me, when done well, work covers many of Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs common to society. At its most basic level work provides an income through which I can afford a roof over my head, warmth and light, and food on my plate. However, work also lends itself to feeling useful, and contributing to society, and offers a structure and rhythm to life. Being productive can be its own reward.
Work also offers opportunity to socialise and to feel part of a team, or ‘tribe’. This sense of belonging is important to me.
Mastery of a role also brings personal satisfaction. To feel like I am progressing within a role is important to me. Work also offers the opportunity to learn. Learning is a huge motivator for me, and integral to my experience at work.
To a certain extent work also offers a sense of identity and status. However, these are probably of lower motivational importance to me.
I do need to believe in the mission of the organisation that I work for. What is the problem we are trying to solve? What is our contribution to society?
Work does offer an avenue through which we can try to be our best selves. As personal exploration of our own potential. What else do I have in the tank? What other latent talents can I try to develop?
It is particularly this final point that I am keen to explore in the second half of my career.
‘Nosce te ipsum’
Questions to consider:
- Why work?
- What’s work for?
- What does work mean?
- How does work relate to the individual and society?
- What defines good or worthwhile work?
- What does money have to do with it?
- What do experience, growth and fulfilment have to do with it?