If you are interested in psychology, you are likely familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. At the base of this pyramid is survival, which is essentially the need for food, water, shelter and sleep. When these needs are met we can focus on safety and security. Next is belonging, the need for friendship and intimacy. If these needs are satisfied, we feel comfortable enough to satisfy our needs to feel important and master new skills. At the very top of this pyramid is self-actualization.
If you’ve ever worked a job you hated, then this infographic may help you think about why you weren’t so engaged with your work. It reframes a job according to our fundamental psychological needs.
When stuck in survival mentality, employees work only for the money and constantly watching the clock to see when their shift ends. Work doesn’t inspire them, and they leave as soon as they find a better opportunity. Next, at the security stage, employees are still not engaged. They feel safer than someone stuck in survival but are still not interested in contributing as much as possible to their job.
At the belonging stage, employees are almost engaged. They take more pride in their work but may leave if tempted. When employees feel like a vital part of their organization they finally reach the stage of importance and engagement. When employees are highly engaged, they care more about what they can do for others than what the company can do for them.
If you are stuck at a low level in the pyramid, consider negotiating for a higher salary or changing careers. After all a job is a major part of life, so make sure it aligns with your needs.