Nearly half (47%) of working adults in the U.S. gain equal or greater feelings of self-worth from their jobs and careers as they do from their personal lives, according to a survey released last week by University of Phoenix School of Business.
“People deeply value the contributions they make to society and to their workplaces and take it personally,” said Dr. Sam Sanders, college chair for University of Phoenix School of Business and former human resources executive.
Despite a challenging economic climate, the survey reveals that more than 60% of working adults would quit their job if it decreased their feelings of self-worth. The youngest and the oldest working adults are the most likely to quit if a job decreases their feelings of self-worth, as reported by 69% of workers in their 20s and 72% of workers age 60 and above.
More than half (56%) of workers in their 30s, 58% of workers in their 40s and 49% of workers in their 50s, report they would quit if their job decreased their feelings of self-worth.
The survey also finds that nearly half of working adults (45%) are still searching for the right career and more than one-third (37%) plan to change careers in the next two years.
The youngest workers are most interested in transition, with two-thirds (66%) of workers in their 20s still searching for the right career and 55% planning to change careers in the next two years.
However, many workers in their 30s and beyond also desire change. More than half (53%) of workers in their 30s are still looking for the right career, followed by 42% in their 40s, 25 percent in their 50s and 21% age 60 and above.
Forty percent of workers in their 30s plan to change careers in the next two years, followed by 35% in their 40s, 25% in their 50s and 20% of those age 60 and above.
“Professionals no longer feel locked into a specific career path,” said Dr. Sanders. “Workers are staying in the workforce longer and the lines between personal lives and work have blurred, so it is not surprising that workers are focused on finding jobs and careers that align with their values and contribute to their feelings of self-worth.
Increasing Self-Worth Throughout Your Career
Dr. Sanders offers the following tips for working adults who may be looking to gain more responsibility, personal job satisfaction or are struggling with a lack of fulfillment in their chosen careers:
- Be an entrepreneur in your own career. Don’t wait to be handed opportunities at your organization. Be proactive and find ways to stand out within your existing job. This can include working with other teams in the organization, researching a new revenue stream, conducting competitive analysis or presenting a new project. Suggesting innovative changes and taking charge of your own development may lead to increased responsibility, and ultimately greater feelings of self-worth.
- Understand how your job ties to the bottom line. Understanding how your role fits into the larger picture can change the way you approach it and position your accomplishments. Even if it is not in your job description, being aware of how your role and department contribute to the organization’s business priorities and bottom line, may help you prioritize and contribute more effectively and feel greater job satisfaction.
- Be a lifelong learner. Don’t let your skills get stale! Take a class, pursue an advanced degree, research certificate programs or identify a mentor. With educational options growing more customized every day, it is easier than ever to find ways to learn, grow and challenge yourself long after you graduate high school or earn a bachelor’s degree.
- Get civic! Share your knowledge, nurture your interests and continue to grow your skills through volunteering. Community involvement is a great way to supplement your career and add flavor and richness to your daily life.
- Set personal goals, even if you don’t meet every one. When you go through the review process every year, it is a good time to set some personal learning goals for yourself. Is there something you have always wanted to learn? Is there a part of the business/department you want to better understand? Are there soft skills (communication, strategic thinking, planning) that you have always wanted to improve? Identify a personal goal related to your career and develop a plan to achieve that goal in the coming year.
- Nurture your brand. Branding isn’t just for companies and products; social media and online networking have made branding just as important for individuals. Research the key components of a business and/or marketing plan and use this as a guide for your own brand and professional communication.