What’s work to you?

From the book and methodology Business Model You

One way to discover whether you’re on autopilot and help further develop the self-reflection process is to think about work’s current place in your life and whether that place matches work’s true meaning to you.

Many of us define ourselves primarily by our jobs. Strangers often break the ice by asking,

“So, what do you do?” As it turns out, work can have very different meanings for different people. And what works means to you is a big part of who you are.

Work as job

This means working for the sake of a paycheck, without much personal involvement or satisfaction.

Roy Baumeister (American social psychologist )describes this way of thinking in Meanings of Life: “The job is an instrumental activity - that is, something done principally for the sake of

something else.” Still, jobs can produce valuable feelings of skill and satisfaction, not to mention sustenance that enables a worker to pursue meaning in other areas of life.

Work as Career

Work as career is motivated by the desire for success, achievement, and status. The careerist’s approach to work is not a passionate attachment to the work itself, Baumeister writes. Rather, it “emphasizes the feedback about the self that comes in response to work. For the careerist, work is a means of creating, defi ning, expressing, proving, and glorifying the self.” Work as career can be an important source of meaning and fulfillment in life.

Work as Calling

The word “calling” derives from the idea that one is “called upon” to do a certain type of work: either externally, by God or community, or internally, by a natural gift demanding expression. It’s done “out of a sense of personal obligation, duty, or destiny,”

Baumeister says.

Work as Fulfillment

Work as fulfillment is best described as a strongly interest-driven (or even passionate) approach to work — but one lacking the overwhelming, all-encompassing nature of a “calling.” People pursuing work as fulfi llment may choose unconventional career paths that favor personal interests over financial reward, recognition, or prestige. Such work can be an important source of meaning in life.

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