Author and management consultant Richard Koch writes in his book The 80/20 Principle
that when you’re considering a career, the context
of your work can be just as important as what
you work on.
Koch advises that in order to find a career that will make you happy, you need to ask yourself 2 questions:
- Do you have a high drive for achievement and career success?
- Would you be happiest working for an organization, being a self-employed individual, or employing other people?
The box above illustrates the range of choices – which box best describes you?
As Koch points out, many people are frustrated with their careers because they’re operating in the wrong box.
He offers additional details on each of the box profiles below:
Box 1 people are highly ambitious, but they prefer working in a context organized and provided by others. Although large organizations may not be able to give their employees as much security as they could in the past, they can still provide structure and status.
Box 2 people often want the recognition that comes with being the best in their field, but they want to be independent and don’t fit well in organizations. They should avoid being professionally dependent on others, and should resist the temptation to employ other people – even if doing so might bring significant financial rewards.
Box 3 people are those who want to work with other people but not forthem. They are entrepreneurial and unconventional, and want to create a web or structure around themselves.
Box 4 people aren’t particularly ambitious, but they do enjoy working with others and should invest their time accordingly – either through a conventional job or volunteer opportunities.
Box 5 people don’t have a high drive for career achievement, but they desire autonomy in their work. Rather than set up their own business, they should be freelancers and work on projects that suit their convenience and interests.
Box 6 people may not have a strong need for their own career achievement, but they enjoy the process of organizing and developing others. As Koch puts it, for them “the journey is everything; there is no need to arrive.”