Posts Tagged ‘careers’

The Human-Element Economy: A Brief Examination of Our Obsession with Bigger Paychecks

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Getting into the workforce seems like the natural progression from graduating these days. We set ourselves up with education, usually in a specific field, then dress up our resume as best we can and then compete for the career of our dreams. We get our foot in the door and things start to pick up steam from there. Sometimes it leads to the success we’re looking for, sometimes it doesn’t but what we have in common is that we always seem to strive for more.

The reasons why we strive for more are varied. For some a mortgage has to be paid, an ego needs boosting or an obsession with shoes has to be fulfilled. And with these needs draws us towards the ever-so-delicious higher paycheck. But it is very easy to over-simplify our needs to a dollar/euro/pound salary.

Instead, take ‘other’ salaries into account – emotional salaries (positive and negative). In other words, what price would you put onto things such as flexibility, enjoyment, time with friends and family, stress, responsibility? And yes, I did just say to put a number against things that are considered ‘priceless’.

Now, put a price on your own capability; what do you think your value is in the workplace at this very moment? With this we can put it into this formula:

V – Pe + Ne = S

where: V = Self-assessed value in the workforce; Pe = Cost of Positive emotional/social elements; Ne = Gain from Negative emotional/social elements; S = Salary range of an ideal job

Using this representation career-oriented people tend to have a higher Ne value (making more sacrifices to achieve more pay), whereas family-oriented people may have a higher Pe value (making more sacrifices to achieve a better balanced life).

So come promotion/new job time take a moment to really look at what you want and how you want to balance your life. You may not use the above formula explicitly but at the very least take the principles into consideration. Realise what you’re willing to sacrifice and you may end up netting more than what your employer can give you.

[List] A selection of elemental motives for career development

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

After writing up my previous post I’ve had a thought more about what sort of outcomes people can come across when breaking down their motivation for the current or intended careers. So here is a list of what I have come up with. Feel free to add your own in the comments :)

  • Teach others about the world
  • Teach others about themselves
  • Motivate the unmotivated
  • Lead the unfortunate out of crisis
  • Lead the capable to victory
  • Create something beautiful
  • Establish and promote freedom
  • Accomplish fairness and balance
  • Discover the world
  • Discover the universe
  • Bring people together
  • Protect the important
  • Protect the weak
  • Make life easier
  • Make life liveable
  • Entertain
  • Clean the planet
  • Be a beacon for faith
  • Be a mother
  • Be a father
  • Forge alliances
  • Build a community
  • Save lives

What do you *really* want to do with your life?

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The VCE results have come in for 2009 and for year 12s around Australia I’m sure it was a moment of relief, joy, disappointment or even indifference.

Reliving my own experience I recall the apparent gravity of the situation – being handed a number that will steer a young adult towards a university degree which in turn has an almost direct impact on what he/she will be doing for a career (or two…or three…)

And while I didn’t acknowledge it at the time, it was so…unnatural.

It’s easy to say you want to be an accountant, teacher or microbiologist specialising in infectious diseases of diabetic foot ulcers. The proliferation of specialised university courses makes this easy to pigeonhole ourselves in such a way. But they’re just job titles / skill sets; labels to place upon ourselves to give us a sense of belonging and social rank.

Despite the past successes most of us have achieved such as scoring a degree of choice and landing a decent job I sense an air incertitude among our generation. Reality has hit after reaching the other end of a system that was conveniently pushing us along to where we are now. Though resolving it is really quite simple.

So as an exercise, whether you’re feeling unsettled about where you are or are absolutely certain you know what you’re doing, it pays to step back and ask yourself: “what do I really want to do with my life?”. And when answering it, I mean really completely deconstructing the very notion of what your current, or ‘to-be’ career is.

For instance, say you want to be a criminal lawyer. You don’t really want to be acriminal lawyer, thats just a job title. Instead, see it for what core moral, ethical or emotional values it entails, and see if that resonates with you. As a criminal lawyer you probably want things to be fair, establish a sense of balance and justice. Or you want to defend the weak to give you a sense of pride. Or perhaps you want security and comfort.

What ever it is, it’s these core values that drive us. And finding the right ones gives much more meaning than what any job title can provide.