The Problem of an Un-Fulfilling Career

Written by
Michael Wells

The Problem of an Un-Fulfilling Career

And How to Conquer It

Written by
Michael Wells

The Problem of an Un-Fulfilling Career

And How to Conquer It

Written by
Michael Wells
SERIES

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QUESTION
"My BF is already 21 and has changed his major 3 times. He doesn't like anything and he is frustrated and depressed about it.
How can I help him find a good career for him?"

A career exists for two purposes-

  1. Security. To generate income, for survival, comfort, and the other things you want to do with your life.
  2. Fulfillment. To provide fulfillment on core values, life ambition, personal interests, and so on.
In Western society, we often try to mix these two objectives together, even though they’re quite different.

How different are they?

Here's what Maslow has to say.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

In Maslow’s hierarchy, the first career goal - Security - provides for the Physiological & Safety needs which are the foundation of the pyramid.

Meanwhile the second goal - Fulfillment - provides for Esteem & Self Actualization at the top of the pyramid.

Chances are you're expecting your career to offer a strong social life, and a sense of community and belonging as well.

See the problem?

It's very difficult to make one thing in your world fit 100% of your needs.

Some people manage it, impressively- but if you're starting with this as an expectation, prepare for a long battle ahead. Most people don't even really discover what personal fulfillment looks like until they're in their 40's.

Try a different approach

Try separating those two objectives.

Pick a career that you're good at, and that will provide well for you. Make sure it's something that you enjoy doing, and that suits the lifestyle that you desire.

But don't try to make it your source of happiness.

Separately, pursue your self-actualization.

Go deep on a hobby or passion that is not about money. Perhaps it’s art, travel, dance, writing, whatever. Pursue that, and it will you happiness and purpose.

Bonus- you can change it later without a huge life change. You'll be continually learning more about yourself, so you need that flexibility.

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First published on 
. Last updated on 
November 23, 2021

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