Why do you Work? Discovering Your Hidden Drivers

The following questions are designed to help you start thinking about your character traits and what needs your work has fulfilled over the years. They may help you realize some of things that you will need in Retirement. These are very loose categories that can be used to get you started understanding what drives you-so you can begin planning for life after 9-5.

1. Sense of identity and accomplishment

  • Do you introduce yourself by saying what your work is?
  • Does your work give you a sense of "being somebody"?
  • Does work provide a place where you feel you "belong"
  • Do kudos from others make you feel especially good about yourself?

2. Being "Where the action is"

  • Do you get an adrenaline "buzz" from work, from the thrill of the game?
  • Does your work excite you because it gives you the chance to be on the cutting edge, or to be a trendsetter?
  • Do you enjoy the sense of being indispensable?

3. Power and Authority

  • Do you enjoy being sought out for expert advice?
  • Do you like to be in a position of leadership or being looked up to?
  • Are you known for taking people under your wing or trying to help people achieve their potential?

4. Learning and self-improvement

  • Do you seek out new ideas, novel situations, and opinions?
  • Do you tend to take seminars, attend lectures, and read in depth on topics outside of job requirements?
  • Are you constantly trying to make yourself a better worker or a better person?
  • Do you enjoy traveling and learning about the world?

5. Social interaction

  • Do you make many of your friends through work or socialize a lot with people from work?
  • Do you find it stimulating to meet people?
  • Do you need other people around to make you feel energized?

6. Structure

  • Do you manage your time using a to-do list and really complete what's on the list?
  • Do you have a strong work and /or personal routine?

7. Personal satisfaction and making a difference

  • Do you feel a sense of mission in life?
  • Do you like to do things that help others?
  • Does your job give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning?
  • Would you do your job even if you didn't get paid to do it?


Our thanks to Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners for this piece Adapted from "Don't Retire ,Rewire! Five Steps to Fulfilling Work That Fuels Your Passion, Suits Your Personality, or Fills your Pocket" by Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners, published by Alpha Books, a division of Penguin Putnam