How Work and Career Choices Meet Your Needs


People spend the majority of their time and energy meeting the demands of their work and career. How each of us applies this time and energy has important consequences for the way our needs are met. Social distancing has had a considerable impact on the patterns of behavior we had in place to met our needs.

For some of us, work is now being done from home. This may mean you are making adjustments to the way collaboration takes place using different systems to connect securely as needed.

For some, it has meant being furloughed or laid off. You could find yourself unexpectedly seeking new employment.

For some, there is more work than ever. Perhaps there has been a flood for extra demand in your industry. Maybe you are juggling roles that were previously done by others, such as childcare and cleaning. Maybe the new safety requirements stretch your resources.

Changes to your work and career may have you identifying different needs or aspects that feel like they are missing. Added pressures may mean some needs are being neglected or undermined. Radical shifts in the way your job is done may mean that you have to opt to meet some needs differently. Our work and career are fundamental to so many of these needs because our income provides for our lifestyle. Empower yourself by actively choosing the way you wish to meet these needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Applied to your Work and Career

In his Theory of Human Motivation, Abraham Maslow proposed a five-level hierarchy of needs: The levels are physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Maslow theorized that each built on the one before such that physiology is a foundation for safety which provides a foundation for belonging and then esteem. The uncertainty we are experiencing right now may have shifted more of our focus to these more fundamental needs, but each one is important for us to experience joy.


This need encompasses the things our body requires for survival. This includes adequate access to food, water, air, warmth, and sleep. This need activates strongly when any of these is at a deficit. Since finances have been disrupted for many, the availability of these fundamental resources has been threatened. Instability in supply lines has also prompted feelings of scarcity even if these needs are still being met.

The first thing to check is reality and whether these physiological needs are being met.

The second thing is to take a look at what you truly think about your reality.

  • To what extent do you believe that you can find a way to continue to meet your physiological needs?
  • What alternatives that you have not yet tried do you have for meeting your physiological needs?
  • If your physiological needs are at risk of not being met, can you connect with support services in your community? Many provide food, furniture, and even housing.


This need is for our physical safety. It includes the level of protection we feel in our daily environment. The things that shelter us from harm. Safety in our work and career may have been compromised by COVID-19 both in terms of risk of transmittance and also in terms of stresses of new workload and functionality.

Start by assessing reality. What is the actual extent to which your safety needs are being met? Do you know about the risks you face?

Next, identify what you think about these needs being met. Do you believe that you are safe from harm in your current work environment?

  • What can you do by yourself to meet your safety needs?
  • What requests can you make of others to meet your safety needs?
  • How willing are you to change your daily environment to make it safer?


This need is for a feeling of inclusion being loved for who we are. It includes bonds with family and friends from intimate partners through membership with social groups. What opportunities do you have to connect with others? Our workplace is frequently a place where we make connections. These may be strained if we change roles or are unable to meet face to face.

First, think about your current social experience. How is the quality of your relationships? Do you have people in your work and career who you can rely on?

Second, what do you think about meeting these belonging needs? Do you trust and respect those in your closest relationships?

  • What can you do to improve your affiliations and strengthen your bonds?
  • Which adjustments are you willing to make to maintain social connection?
  • What do you most want from your relationships?


This need is for recognition. Current social distancing requirements are prompting innovation and adaptation to continue to deliver products and services. The pandemic has shifted the reality of what we do and made it a focus of consideration. This is an opportunity to check your alignment with work and the extent to which it allows you to live on purpose.

Begin by thinking about your current level of esteem. What do you appreciate about your ability to respond to the current situation?

Follow by considering your competencies, skills, and strengths?

  • What additional things can you do to meet your esteem needs?
  • What requests can you make to support your ambitions?
  • How willing are you to change your goals to support your esteem needs?


This is the need for growth and development. This need is expansive and over time transforms our approach to life.

Again, think about your current level of understanding. How are you seeking to learn more about yourself?

Next, what do you think about growing in awareness?

  • What can you do to meet your needs for growth and development?
  • What can you request of others to meet your self-actualization needs?
  • How willing are you to change to grow and develop?

Your Future Work and Career Vision

I do not attempt to put myself in your shoes or know how much of a struggle you are facing right now in your work and career. Do or be the best that you can in each moment to move forward. Take support from others and take responsibility where you can.

Wherever you find yourself overwhelmed consider Tapping to release the negative emotions and thoughts that are your biggest obstacles. For example, an “I can’t because …” mindset will stop you before you start. Separate your thoughts from the issue by asking what advice you might give someone else in a similar situation. This allows you to brainstorm and research your possibilities.

  • How willing are you to diversify your work and career?
  • How can you be more of the person you wish to be in your vocation?
  • What can you do to make yourself stand out from others that have the required skills?
  • What options do you have that you are not using? Use what you already know or can learn or produce easily to serve current demands.

Which new ways to serve have you discovered? Please share your inspiration in the comments.

Image by Debi Brady from Pixabay

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