What Drives Your Career?

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What Drives Your Career?

--By Dr Rabindra Karna

To begin with, people are motivated, primarily by economic factors such as money, job progression, personal property and possessions. These are also termed as tangible factors. Here, education, experience, capability, business ethics and flexibility have always been the most critical factors. However, in the current context communication and collaboration (two key features of social networking), have gained greater value. 

A career is generally understood to be a profession where one earns, and of course, also learns about life. Today, many options in education and potential professions make planning a career possible. 

Building a career requires exploring the employment market, besides having the necessary education. The motivations that drive a career are lasting but are not permanent over the course of a lifetime. They are based on circumstances and motivated by personal preferences and interests.

What drives a career is basically a type of inner dynamism that highlights an individual’s desires and needs. Any significant career decision made under the influence of others without consciously examining what drives a career, is often unrewarding. Once again, choosing a career is based on a person’s unique expression of interest.

Also, it must be carefully noted that career drivers are not just based on a bent or temperament; they are inner incentives which strongly influence the individual. A shrewd person will first satisfy his/her primary motivational force rather than working around the many guiding factors. 

Research shows that for most people, two or three major factors drive their careers with one factor typically at the centre - financial considerations. It is the guiding force behind career progression providing a level of consistency to decisions.

The Richmond Survey determines nine distinct career drivers - each ultimately representing desires and requirements. This could be a combination of effective desires and wishes and needs. The nine career drivers Richmond defines are: 
a. Material Rewards: Prosperity
b. Power/Influence: Comes with wealth
c. Searching for Meaning: Self Sufficiency (Again resultant of Economy)
d. Expertise: Specialisation (Yet another outcome of wealth as specialisation requires investment and with specialisation better saleability i.e. better returns)
e. Creativity: To be recognised with unique input meaning better rewards in return
f. Affiliation: Nourishing relationships that cause rewards
g. Autonomy: Independence i.e. ultimately self sufficiency
h. Security:  Stability of course financially
i.  Status: Respectable social space which again comes with economic strength

Furthermore, developing your own brand is just as important. It is such a powerful tool that it makes you stand out in the skills market and adds to your monetary worth and strengthens your professional value. 

Here are some prime career drivers that support originality when choosing a career. It is widely suggested to review your career choice on the scale of these influencing factors to reach the desired future:

Communication Proficiency: Expert communicators regularly gain an audience’s full attention and create an atmosphere that allows for the exchange of ideas. Someone who can sell ideas better creates a stronger brand leading to positive outcomes, and for that matter, incomes. 

Individual Credibility: Individual credibility is the most precious asset a person owns. Be recognized for dependability, professionalism, and cooperation. Creating a name/space by attending conferences, delivering presentations, or writing articles etc helps credibility which again improves an individual’s place in the skills/job market.

Bonding: Society/team, thoughts and aims are three crucial factors when making a career choice. Creating strong bonds is the best way to manage the power of interconnectedness. 

Confidence: Experience is gained by clearly understanding the significance of the employer or organisation. Believing in yourself, your skill, and the ability to succeed are critical factors for a successful career. 

Dreams and Aims: It is essential to have a dream in life. One must distinguish between a vision for life and a career goal. One needs to define goals and ambitions in life. Without an aim nothing can be achieved.

 Trust: People by nature obviously desire to surround themselves with trusted companions. Developing trust requires a blend of consistent honesty and dependability. It’s a two way street i.e. one needs to trust others to gain their trust.

Culture: Culture, which is influenced by ethnicity and background, also impacts strongly on career decisions. Culture often dominates a person’s values and prospects in life.

Skills and Capabilities: A specific set of job skills is mandatory when it comes to succeeding in a profession. Creating a precise profile for a specific job opens lots of doors and hence constantly learning new sets of skills is expected to improve demand and acceptance in the job market. 

Gender: Gender is a factor many management activists do not give space to in career choices in view of gender equality. However, an individual’s point of view may influence both the opportunities and barriers one considers when making career decisions. Studies of gender and career options are unending as the roles of men and women in the workforce, and in higher education, evolve. 

Personal Interest: Psychologists, though not unanimously, describe childhood fantasies as a key driver in personal career interests. Also career counselling theories describe that career choices are developed at all ages, wherein the most influential type develops at a very young age. 

Previous Experience: Lessons carried from previous experiences and professional role models also impact career decisions. Social cognitive career theory describes how the continuity of a particular assignment resulting from positive exposure guides the focus of an individual in the area of past successes and achieved self-esteem.

Additionally, social and economic factors also play a vital role when choosing a career. Certain events that we face in life affect the selection process, as well as in how a career develops. But the intensity is not as high as described in the above mentioned 11 key elements.

 As all sorts of different factors influence our career selection (at times becoming extremely difficult to stop and continue along our chosen career path), it is prudent to take into consideration the different influences on decision making. Sometimes, there could be multiple options, so one needs to keep on modifying and fine tuning the best fit against the good fit option. 

Ultimately, a lot needs to be examined. But you do not need to figure it out on your own. Rather, it would be wiser to approach a career counsellor for evaluation, comparison and supplementary resources to bring the career expansion process to an end.

(The writer is executive chairperson at MARK Business Solutions Pvt Ltd and managing director, Advance Cement)   

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