1. Better than half of the professionals taking the poll view their work as a career. While it wasn’t defined, having a career denotes a measure of commitment to being technically competent and serving clients well. You enjoy your work and will rise to the occasion when firm and client demands require it. Overall, however, you are diligent about pursuing a work/life balance. As I interact and work with professionals, I would agree that, using this definition, a majority are career-minded.
2. Interestingly, about a third of you view your work as your passion. Your work is more than interesting to you–it is engaging. You enjoy it so much that you devote a healthy portion of your discretionary time to developing your competence and thinking about client situations. Going the extra mile is a no-brainer and you find ways to make it happen. You are less likely to think much about retiring because you enjoy what you do so much.
3. A much smaller percentage (about 10%) view your work as a job. In the course of your career, you may have had second thoughts about your career choice, especially during demanding times. You may become more agitated with adversity caused by clients, internal processes, or others who interfere with you getting the job done. You are likely to see your work as a way of providing opportunities for something else, like social status, political influence or financial stability. You tolerate the challenges of the profession and tend to be generally unresponsive to the requests of others to put forth more time or effort.
4. No one admitted to viewing their work as simply as a paycheck. Professional service is too demanding just to make a buck. There are much easier ways to make money than this. In addition, no one viewed their work as a calling. To view your work this way is to say it is your purpose in life, which may be a bit over the top for most. Those of you in either of these extreme categories are few compared to your colleagues.
A final thought: none of these are preferable to the others, as long as your view is aligned with your internal motivations and you experience a high degree of satisfaction in your career. Ultimately, this should be your pursuit. Remember—it’s not a sprint, but a marathon. Know yourself, pace yourself and live fully.
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