I always marveled at how Maslow’s hierarchy is so aptly applicable in many different ways. More importantly, I was interested in understanding transitions from one stage to the other and what drives them.
Most of us go through a typical career progression, which I have conveniently divided into three phases here. I have numbered those phases in the software version style for making them more memorable.
However, in reality, they are indeed our significant professional versions that are driven by our purpose and means to achieve that purpose. As you would notice, the model has some resemblance to Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” theory.
Our very first version starts from birth and lasts up until we begin to work and earn for ourselves. During this phase, we have quite a fundamental purpose of our life — to survive and to grow. While our parents take care of our physiological needs, we pursue education as a means to progress further, to upgrade ourselves. While doing that, the focus is mainly on learning and adapting to the world around us; we remain mostly compliant.
The second version comes with an upgrade at the end of our formal education. During this phase, we mostly focus on increasing and widening our safety-net, and at the same time, seek for love and belongingness. We either pursue employment or start working as an entrepreneur. Either way, socializing and being part of relevant groups helps us achieve our purpose. Many of us keep ourselves trained regularly. People often treat certifications and newer skills-sets as a safety-net for their careers.
However, I have seen that the majority of people get stuck in this, the second version of their career. They never upgrade. And by the way, this has nothing to do with promotion or change in designation.
It is like being stuck in an infinite loop! Their groups and friend circles keep changing. Socialization takes different twists and turns, and they keep churning out several certifications, many times during the year. But that’s it! People remain (or choose to stay) in that loop. It becomes a comfort zone for many.
This has to change, and here is why:
Firstly, each individual who has worked for at least 10 to 15 years or more has much tacit knowledge that could be highly useful for others. Not only peers and the organization they work but also in general for their entire industry or practitioner groups.
Secondly, many people start to feel unfulfilled or incomplete as they begin to cross that 10 to 15-year mark while working. It feels that there is more to life and work, but they can’t decisively pinpoint what that is. That sometimes builds up internal frustration, and other times it merely results in anxiety or restlessness. It is interesting to note that these feelings do not amplify enough to take precedence in life and, therefore, do not motivate enough to force the upgrade.
Thirdly, most people would remain content with safety, love, and belongingness in their life. There is nothing wrong with being so; all I want to point out is that there is more to life. I feel that self-actualization is for everyone and has a vast potential to bring positive changes in everyone, in the community, and society.
The fact is, as the world is changing faster than ever, economies are being dressed and redressed every week; a personal upgrade has become a necessity.
And besides that, I think the timing is ripe now for rolling up your sleeves and taking charge of your life; you might be due for an upgrade!
Then why wait?
Disrupt yourself and break out of stagnation as soon as possible.
Upgrade yourself and be the best version of you, be YOU 3.0!