Why Do you Work?

By John Salow

Awhile back, I was meeting with one of my clients.  We were talking about what he wants in his calling. Without skipping a beat, he said “lots of money.”  “Okay,” I said hesitantly. Silently, I was thinking, “doesn’t he want more than that?” Doesn’t he want to have meaning in his work?  

But then I caught myself.  I caught myself thinking about an ideal calling along my terms, not his.   You see, everyone has different values when it comes to working.


Our Work Values:


Some of us have intrinsic work values.  When people have intrinsic work values, they are motivated by the intangible rewards of their job.   This is the type of values I predominantly think of in my ideal careers. People who are intrinsically motivated, value the purpose and “why” behind their work.  They enjoy being the expert or achieving specific goals in their work. In addition, they might enjoy working or serving others.


The other side of the coin, are the extrinsically motivated people.  These individuals, like my client, are motivated by the external rewards of their job.  Rewards to them include things like; the salary they receive, benefits, vacation time, and the environment they work in.    


Finally, there is a third type of work value called lifestyle motivated people.  They seek positions that can give them the type of lifestyle they are looking for.   Their rewards are things like; a flexible working schedule, having fun at work, working in a bustling city, or having some free time to work on passion projects.  


What do you value?


What do you value in your work?  Reflect on the following questions:


  • When you started your profession, what were the main reasons you chose it?


  • When you think of how satisfied you are with your job, what factors are you using to judge it?


  • When you think of a dream job you would love to work in, why is it important to you?


Understanding why you work is critical to finding the types of roles that are going to fit your work values.  Helping others identify why they work and helping them find their calling is my highest value.   If you are unsatisfied with your work or are looking to find something that better fits your values, schedule a complimentary coaching call with me.  To schedule this free meeting, click here

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