Career Success

2 Things Maslow Validates About Achieving Career Success

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Lately, I’ve found myself referring to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs chart a lot when talking to members inside CareerHMO.

He included it in his 1946 paper called, “A Theory of Human Motivation.”

It truly helps members visualize where they are right now in terms of career satisfaction and what it’s going to take to achieve the career success they see all around them, but can’t seem to get for themselves.

Take a look…

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Chart

What I love about this pyramid is it validates two things:

  1. It is human nature to want satisfying work – it’s the only way we reach self-actualization.
  2. We can’t reach the top of the pyramid if we don’t keep our fear in check.

Creating career success requires a deep belief we are going to be okay – coupled with a lot of activity. We don’t climb the pyramid without A) confidence in our ability to reach the top and, B) taking action to get there.

So, I ask you:

  • What have you done today to move yourself towards the top of Maslow’s pyramid?
  • How do you keep your mind on moving up, instead of worrying about sliding down?
  • And most importantly, what resources do you seek out to help you when you don’t have the mindset or motivation to do either?

These are the things I help CareerHMO members with every day. We chat in live videos sessions and trade e-mails as a way to get focused and excited to take action.

However, most of our readers are not in CareerHMO.

So I’m curious, how are you managing the above?

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J.T. O'Donnell

Job Search & Career Expert. Syndicated Speaker & Author. Wife. Mother. CEO of CAREEREALISM Media. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

14 comments

  1. Artwell m Sibanda

    I realy worked for different campanies, but this pyramid is an eye opener.
    I am now in beverage dpt looking 4ward to more oportunities and grow in this company.
    Happy to be part of this company.

  2. Actually I heard one guy talking about how Maslow got it wrong… said that if we just follow our creativity, our spontaneity, where our morality leads, accept and deal with things as they are instead of what we wish it would be etc., then we’ll get our esteem, love and belonging, safety, and physiological needs covered, which I tend to agree with. What do you guys think?

    • I think Maslow and you are right. He outlines what’s possible if you follow your creativity, spontaneity and morality. If we all did this and accepted and dealt with thing as they are, we would find that level of self-actualization at the top of his pyramid. Sadly, most people don’t do this because they are too worried about what other think. In America, we put a HUGE emphasis on what people do for work as a way to determine how much respect to give them. This causes people to not follow their hearts and focus on impressing others instead of themselves. The result is a society that is unhappy and falling down Maslow’s pyramid.

      What do others think?

  3. Hmm Scott. While it certainly exists in the corporate world, I don’t think Hersberg’s theory is 100% accurate. When you are experiencing true personal satisfaction (self-actualization), you don’t need recognition, promotion, achievement, etc. You just don’t care because the work impresses the only person that really matters – yourself.

    As for the hygiene factors, for me, it’s too much like BF Skinner’s behaviorism theory. Over time, people become immune to bribes and threats – even the ‘kick the dog’ factor fails. People eventually get tired of trying to win or moving to avoid being kicked and give up.

    Good discussion! I’d love to work with some of those companies who have been using Hersberg’s theory and failing!

  4. Hmm Scott. While it certainly exists in the corporate world, I don’t think Hersberg’s theory is 100% accurate. When you are experiencing true personal satisfaction (self-actualization), you don’t need recognition, promotion, achievement, etc. You just don’t care because the work impresses the only person that really matters – yourself.

    As for the hygiene factors, for me, it’s too much like BF Skinner’s behaviorism theory. Over time, people become immune to bribes and threats – even the ‘kick the dog’ factor fails. People eventually get tired of trying to win or moving to avoid being kicked and give up.

    Good discussion! I’d love to work with some of those companies who have been using Hersberg’s theory and failing!

    • Of course “kick the dog’ will only work for the short run – remove the incentive (the kick) and the dog will do what he/she wants. Unfortuately many companies are using the “kick the dog” to ge tthings done along with “You should feel lucky just to have a job.” – I recal an article stating that it is those companies who will have a mass exidus when the economy turns around.

      • I would agree Scott. That’s why I think those firms better start thinking about career coaching for their employees. Instead of worrying about them leaving, why not help them find a way to stay? So short-sighted and a great example of how the focus on profits will cripple them down the line.

  5. Personally, I am more of a “Herzberg” type of person. Sure everyone has heard of Maslow but Hersberg makes more sense in the business world.

    Herzberg proposed the Motivation-Hygiene Theory, also known as the Two factor theory (1959) of job satisfaction. According to his theory, people are influenced by two sets of factors:

    Motivator Factors:

    * Achievement
    * Recognition
    * Work Itself
    * Responsibility
    * Promotion
    * Growth

    Hygiene Factors:

    * Pay and Benefits
    * Company Policy and Administration
    * Relationships with co-workers
    * Supervision
    * Status
    * Job Security
    * Working Conditions
    * Personal life

    The Hygiene Factor is also know as “kick the dog” factor – the dog is motivated to move so not to be kicked. Sounds like most management styles used in todays employment environment…

  6. Great stuff, J.T. I do the same, highly recommend you visit Marsha Sinetar’s excellent book “To Build the Life You Want, Create the Work You Love.” She has a “treatment” of Maslow’s hierarchy that relates the stages directly to career development. She calls this the Three Stages of Vocational Awareness (c). I frequent quote (with attribution, of course) her interpretation of Self-Actualization: “Work as gift of self.”

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