Should You Quit Your Job The Job Satisfaction Wheel Refine What Your Job Is For Address Your Current Situation Quit & Transition

The point of this page: “Refine what your job is for” will walk you through the top seven functions a job can serve in your life and detail the possible benefits or drawbacks of prioritizing certain functions over others.

The introduction explains the myriad expectations we have of our jobs and offers the possibility of redistributing them over other areas of our lives. There is a QUIZ for you to find out which function you are currently prioritizing.

  1. Security – When safety and financial security become our biggest motivator.
  2. Prosperity – When wealth and abundance determine what we do for/how we work.
  3. Passion/ Joy – What happens when we prioritize passion or joy over everything else at work.
  4. Purpose – How purpose as our primary focus impacts the nature of our jobs.
  5. Connection/Community – How prioritizing connection at work can benefit you but also hold you back.
  6. Learning/Discovery – What happens when our desire for learning determines the choices we make for work.
  7. Freedom/Convenience – The impacts of prioritizing freedom and convenience above all else.

Finally, the page closes with an epic, comprehensive, and thought-provoking guide to consciously choosing a primary function for your job in order to empower you to be satisfied at work and redistribute your other needs to different areas of your life.

“Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.” – Tony Robbins

Take a moment to imagine yourself successful. Consider what success- tailored perfectly to your definition of it- would look like. Maybe it looks like Tony Robbins’ definition above. Maybe it’s more specific.

Take at least thirty seconds to visualize what your ideal successful life would be like– and assume you have a job. What would you do all day? All year? Who would you be around and where would you be? Why would you get up in the morning?

Go ahead, this will be waiting for you. Take out a pen and paper and write a quick note about it (it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It could even be an email to yourself!)

…Okay, so if you’re done-

How did your job fit into this vision? What was its function in your ideal life? Was it the center of your efforts? Was it a way to pay the bills? Was it a way to have community?

Look at your job now. What is the main reason you go to work? The second reason? The third?

Our jobs serve multiple functions in our lives. The traditional perspective is that work is primarily about the paycheck. The modern take is that work is not only a paycheck, but also fulfillment, passion, mastery, acceptance…. On and on. As established here, this narrative can contribute to our dissatisfaction. The alternative is clarifying our priorities for what function we want our jobs to serve.

For a broad overview of the landscape, look at the below list that gets granular about various needs we may want met through our jobs (these items show up in the Job Satisfaction Wheel and the Seven Functions a Job Can Serve lists). What boxes do you currently hope or expect your job to check?

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery /Competence
  • Meaning
  • Security
  • Community/Belonging
  • Growth and learning
  • Prosperity
  • Identity
  • Passion
  • Enjoyment
  • Purpose
  • Impact
  • Engagement
  • Lifestyle Fit
  • Validation/Appreciation

These people do their work for different reasons…

  • Sheryl is an anesthesiologist primarily because the pay is very high and she knows she is helping people. The work is not particularly enjoyable to her as she has grown a bit bored of it over the years. She has to commute a long distance.
  • Jorge is a middle school teacher because he believes he can make an impact on kids and wants to become an administrator. Being a teacher in the district he wants to work in will teach him a lot. The work is hard, hours are long, and pay is lower than ideal.
  • Gina is a musician and a waitress. She sings and plays guitar as her passion but doesn’t make much money doing it. Her waitressing job pays the bills and allows her the flexibility she needs to play music.

What boxes are checked and which are not checked for each of the above people?

We have many high expectations to have the perfect job that checks all our boxes- when really, those boxes are for having a happy life, not just metrics for a good job! What if we re-imagined how to check the boxes and then re-distributed the expectations we have for our jobs more broadly over other elements of our lives?

In doing so we empower ourselves to measure our jobs according to their function and increase our satisfaction. The first step is understanding what function your job currently serves in your life…

What is the primary function your job serves in your life? Take the quiz to find out, and follow up with our comprehensive exercise for more clarity.

Top Seven Functions a Job Can Serve

Did you take your current job because it paid well? Did you choose it because you would get to learn a lot and it would help you grow? Did you take it because it was convenient and made it possible for you to do other things in your life?

The honest answer is that there are probably multiple things that weighed in on why you chose your job and why you’ve chosen to stay there as long as you have (although those reasons may be different from the original reasons you took it). Your job can serve multiple functions in your life, and it likely has one or two primary functions that motivates you to be there.

The top seven functions (in no particular order) a job may serve are:

  1. Security
  2. Prosperity
  3. Passion / Joy
  4. Purpose
  5. Connection/Community
  6. Learning/Discovery
  7. Freedom/Convenience

Learn more about each by clicking the function in the list above or scroll through them below. When you’re done you’ll find a link to our detailed exercise for choosing a primary function.

Curious which of the functions you are MOST likely to prioritize?

Take the quiz to see what functions are most important to you and which are least important when it comes to your job. You can cross-reference The Wheel exercise with the results of this quiz to see how your job measures up on what is most important to you.

*This quiz is different from the Primary Job Function Quiz, in that Primary Quiz assesses the primary function of your current job, versus what you would like to ideally prioritize in your work. If you’re in alignment with what you say is important to you, the results will likely reflect that. Take the quiz to find out!

Note: Each is explained in terms of that function as the primary, while this may or may not be true for you.  The common challenges for each function are not blanket statements that apply to every situation, rather they are general things to consider about the deprioritization of other functions or things that can be affected by focusing on the particular function as a primary.

Second Note: You may notice that the job satisfaction elements overlap with some of the job functions. Some satisfaction elements are involved in the function your job serves in your life, while others are not.

1. Security- “The Bouncer”

If security is your job’s primary function, you see your job as a way to meet your fundamental needs: pay your bills, keep a roof over your head, make sure you can access healthcare, or help you prepare for future uncertainty. The Bouncer protects you from financial struggles and discomfort.

Example stories of someone who is…

…satisfied with the Bouncer as a primary function.

Leo is an IT Support Specialist. While he isn’t particularly passionate about the work, he is good at it and it pays him enough to meet all his needs. The most important thing to Leo is that he has great job security and a benefits package he appreciates. Not needing to worry about his finances too much allows him to spend his time outside of work doing other things he is passionate about (like road biking), and alleviates a great deal of stress. He is satisfied with his job.

Supporting Priorities: Security, Freedom/Convenience, Competence between

Raymond works as maintenance and groundskeeper for a large organization with an expansive property. He gets paid well, likes the people he works with, and doesn’t mind the day to day tasks (especially because he’s good at them).

Raymond doesn’t have any big complaints about his job because he understands it’s just that- a job. He doesn’t expect it to do more for him than make sure he can pay his bills and get by with a little comfort. He spends his free time with family, hunting, and mountain biking.

…dissatisfied with the Bouncer as a primary function.

Craig has been working as an electrician for the majority of his career. While it isn’t work that brings him much joy or meaning, he’s pretty good at it and it pays that bills. He gets his needs met and has put away a bit of savings and retirement.

Sometimes he thinks about doing something else he might enjoy more, but it seems like a frivolous idea to him. Having invested so much time in this job he doesn’t feel like he has the skill set to transition to different work, especially since that could mean taking a pay cut while training in something new. He doesn’t feel like he can afford to take that risk. He chooses to stay in his current job, where he knows he can rely on his paycheck and benefits to take care of him.

Competing Priorities: Passion/ Joy

For some, focusing on security first isn’t even a question. For others, perhaps you’re the secondary income maker in the household, a homemaker, or you have enough to get by (or more) and don’t need to work too much to fill in the gaps. We all have different life circumstances. Considering the other functions is only fully possible when a job compensates us enough to keep our heads above water or our basic needs are taken care of in another way.

However, even if you’re not technically in hard times, it can still be tough to shift the mindset that they’re always lurking right around the corner and must be our undying focus. We can get stuck having our job be The Bouncer in our lives. We may be so used to needing to survive that we struggle to change our narrative that security is the number one goal, even when it’s been met. We choose job after job that focuses purely on compensation and benefits with less regard for our other needs, as we consider anything beyond security a luxury or not particularly relevant.

The perspective that anything beyond security is a luxury limits our options for satisfaction and flourishing and is often rooted in fear. According to the Two Factor Theory of job satisfaction, security (or compensation) would fall into the category of “hygienic,” meaning it doesn’t improve satisfaction at work, but when it is absent it can detract from satisfaction. Thus, focusing on security as your primary function may leave you wanting (while keeping it in mind but prioritizing something else may work better for you).

Another possibility is being in a position of “security creep,” where you work a very high-earning job that facilitates a lifestyle you and your family have become accustomed to. Your perception of how much you need could be distorted by keeping up with the financial habits or commitments you’ve developed as your income grew.

Some ways to open your mind to other possibilities and create more opportunities include doing the job assessment and function exercises (that you’re doing now! Great work!), as well as the “How much do you really need?” exercise, Examining your Fears exercise, using the practical guides in the Align: Action section of Purpose, and exploring your relationship with money in the Money section. (All linked below as well).

Possible Challenges for the Bouncer:

Most likely to de-prioritize:

  • Passion and Joy (They may choose jobs that have nothing to do with what they enjoy, as they see that as unrelated to what work is fundamentally for, or as a luxury)
  • Freedom/Convenience (They may sacrifice this in order to make sure they have security by working long hours, driving a long commute, taking inflexible jobs, etc.)
  • Connection and community (Through choosing work that they are not very interested in or that controls their time and lifestyle, the Bouncer can prioritize security over connection by not being around like-minded people or not having time or energy to do so).

May negatively affect:

  • Purpose (Security often feels very purposeful because it is related to survival, but this is a different kind of purposefulness. When one is concerned primarily with meeting their fundamental needs, they are not connected to other possibilities- either through literal lack of opportunities due to their circumstances or through lack of a possibility mindset.)
  • Discovery/Learning (Investing in learning outside of the function of our job may feel like a luxury)
  • Prosperity (Prosperity is seen as an option only after one feels confident in their security)
  • Passion and joy (As you may not be focusing much on the Expression cornerstone, or in other words, having what you do be elements of expressing yourself that isn’t readily substitutable by someone else)

Benefits Enjoyed by the Bouncer:

  • Totally dependent on the individual situation, the Bouncer can pair up with the Enthusiast and FreeBird archetypes to set up the conditions in their lives to facilitate Passion/Joy and Freedom/Convenience outside of work. A Bouncer could be making sure their basic needs are met so they can “live their lives” outside of the world of work. For this flavor of the Bouncer, a job is purely a way to pay the bills and make sure they can do what they enjoy elsewhere.

Consider these exercises or information if Security is your primary function…

  • How much do you really need? An exercise to help you determine how much money you truly need at a minimum, and what your ideal income would be for what you want in life right now. Hint: It may be way less than you think!
  • Identify Your Fears- This comprehensive guide to clarifying your fears can help you understand and work with a high need for security.
  • Research and planning other possibilities- Try out these creative exercises for helping you expand your sense of what is possible by tuning into and connecting with your options.

The Money Section of

2. Prosperity – “The Business Person”

If prosperity is your job’s primary function, you go to work primarily to create abundance in your life above and beyond your fundamental needs. The Business Person seeks wealth.

Example stories of someone who is…

…satisfied with the Business Person as a primary function.

Kyla got into programming at exactly the right time and has been job-hopping her way to greater and greater compensation since she left college. Now in a position that is compensated well beyond what she imagined for herself, she lives an extremely comfortable life.

There are a few things she wishes didn’t come with the package, however. She works in long, high-pressure stretches to get projects out to clients when programs fail, so her work is very stressful. While she gets decent time off, her schedule is still all over the place as it’s dictated by the needs of her clientele. She works really hard so she can progress in the company and get raises and bonuses, which commonly leads to her burning out.

When she considers leaving her job for something else, she can’t imagine taking a pay cut. She has come to deeply enjoy the freedom she sees herself possessing due to her salary. She considers herself at peace with the challenges she accepts from her job.

Supporting Priorities: Freedom/Convenience, Ephemeral Pleasure between

Omar went into research marketing because it would pay well and the daily tasks weren’t too bad for him. He even enjoys several parts of the job, like his co-workers and the opportunities to solve problems and learn.

Ultimately, though, he’s found that he doesn’t care very much about the work in the long run- he’s primarily there because the paycheck is handsome and will become more handsome as he builds expertise and tenure.

…dissatisfied with the Business Person as a primary function.

Jean is an airplane co-pilot. She gets compensated very well for the work and likes the flow of the tasks alright. She chose the job for the income it would provide her and she loves having abundant funds to spend on her other interests, nice quality things, and make donations to organizations she cares about.

Unfortunately other aspects of the jobs make it unsatisfying for her. She has to spend a huge amount of time away from home and that impacts her relationships and sense of community. Being a co-pilot feels very inconvenient for her.

Competing Priorities: Connection/Community, Freedom/Convenience

Some folks may be quick to demonize the prioritization of wealth above all other pursuits. It’s important to consider that wealth can be achieved in many helpful, prosocial ways. Someone does not need to be the proverbial wolf to become financially prosperous.

That being said, those that prioritize wealth above all other functions at work can risk some significant components of a meaningful, fulfilling, and joyful life. Pursuing wealth beyond what they need , the Business Person is more likely to forfeit their time, personal passions, relationships, and energy than the other archetypes. These are hugely important elements of living a meaningful, joyful life.

It is not wrong to pursue prosperity by any means- and, doing so consciously and with reflection regarding what really matters to you in life, what you expect prosperity to give you access to, understanding the science behind what leads to genuine happiness and well-being, and considering what you’d be willing to sacrifice for wealth is advised.


Possible Challenges for the Business Person:

They are most likely to de-prioritize:

  • Passion and Joy; as you may choose to spend your time doing things that you are neither passionate about nor bring you joy.
    • Purpose (Focusing on prosperity often prioritizes personal benefit versus impacting the world outside ourselves– see also the Service Cornerstone).
  • Freedom/Convenience; as you may sacrifice these for wealth.
  • Connection, community, and love; as you’re focusing primarily on your job over these things.

Prioritizing prosperity may negatively affect:

  • Purpose (Focusing on prosperity often prioritizes personal benefit versus impacting the world outside ourselves– see also the Service Cornerstone).
  • Sense of time abundance as they may make themselves busy.
  • Expression of the individual self and Identity outside of a narrow work context.
  • Meaning (The Business Person may focus on how money makes them “happy” and end up experiencing Happiness as a Hindrance).

Benefits Enjoyed by the Business Person:

  • Ephemeral Pleasure – The Business Person can likely afford to invest in pleasurable experiences and thus experience the first element of Well-being, Ephemeral Pleasure.
  • Security – The Business Person is concerned about wealth beyond their basic needs, so their physical security is (ostensibly) accounted for.
  • Depending on the individual, one could be a combination of the Business Person and the Paladin, having their job’s main function to produce wealth so they can use those funds to facilitate their purpose(s).

Consider these exercises or information if the Business Person is your primary function….

  • How much do you really need? – This exercise will guide you through determining the ideal salary for you to meet your needs and the ideal salary for you to do the things you’d like to do in life.
  • The Money Section explores our relationship with money and will help you cla                                              0rify how it operates in your life.
  • What is Money Really For Exercise: For such a wide concept, it’s so common and easy to take for granted. This 5-page worksheet will help you redefine what Money is, and what it’s really good for.
  • Forms of the Question -Check out this page to ask yourself some questions about what really matters to you and why.
  • The Bliss Map– Use the Bliss Map to explore how the four elements of getting paid for something, being good at it, the world needing it, and loving what you do can take your experience of work to the next level: Bliss!

The Happiness Section– Check out the Happiness section to learn what really brings us joy, based in science!

3. Passion & Joy – “The Enthusiast”

If passion and joy are your job’s primary function, you go to work primarily because it enables you to do something you enjoy and feel motivated to do. The Enthusiast is here to make sure work is fun and engaging.

Example stories of someone who is…

…satisfied with the Enthusiast as a primary function.

Noah is passionate about sports and photography and thus became a sports photographer. He loves the fact that he gets to be in an environment surrounded by things he enjoys and people who are like him. While he doesn’t find his work especially meaningful or purposeful, he experiences a lot of purpose at home through his family. His work also pays him fairly well at this point in his career because he has dedicated time to improving his work and networking.

Supporting Priorities: Security, Connection/Community

…in between

Aaron adores pristine wilderness and hiking. He decided to become a park ranger so he could have easy access to the things he enjoys as well as getting to be outside basically all the time.

The work doesn’t pay as well as he’d like but he doesn’t mind because his needs are getting met and he gets to be around people with similar interests. While he isn’t madly in love with the ins-and-outs of the work (Aaron would prefer to interact with people less), he considers it a decent job.

…dissatisfied with the Enthusiast as a primary function.

Claire is a graphic designer. She has a ton of fun creating images and designs for her clients and gets paid decently well for the work. However, sometimes she wonders what the point of it is and wishes she were able to make a difference through her work. She is not fully satisfied even though she is engaged in and enjoys her projects.

Competing Priority: Purpose

Common Challenges for the Enthusiast:

Most likely to de-prioritize:

  • Security or Prosperity (they aren’t choosing jobs first on the metric of how well they’ll be supported by them. However, it is possible that what we enjoy doing is lucrative or can make ends meet.)

May negatively affect:

  • Freedom/Convenience
  • Purpose (Not only are people not always passionate about or enjoy purposeful things, Enthusiasts may focus on their passion at the expense of making an impact).
  • Busyness (These folks can get carried away with their passion and fill up their calendar quickly).

Benefits Enjoyed by the Enthusiast:

  • It is possible for purpose and passion to overlap. In the case that they do, the Enthusiast combines with the Paladin and experiences the meaning, joy, and flow that comes with having passionate purpose.
  • Enthusiasts tend to be invested in learning and discovery, as working at their craft will often lead to skill development.

Consider these exercises or information if the Enthusiast is your primary function…

  • Craftsman vs. Passion Mindset – Learn about author Cal Newport’s categorization of ways passion can be applied to our work. If passion is your primary motivation, are you de-prioritizing impact? Are you prioritizing happiness over meaning? Read about the concept and try the corresponding activity to find out.
  • Harmonic vs. Obsessive Passion – Passion can show up in our lives in enriching ways, toxic ways, or probably as a combination of both. Visit this page to learn about the difference and figure out how your way of engaging with passion is limiting or serving you.

Elements of Well-being – One of this site’s primary models, visit this page to learn about the Four Elements of Well-being. Each type is distinct and contributes to a fulfilling life.

4. Purpose – “The Paladin

If purpose is your job’s primary function, you go to work first and foremost because it is meaningful to you and impactful on the world beyond yourself.

Example stories of someone who is…

…satisfied with the Paladin as a primary function.

Oliver is a nurse. He works with geriatric populations and helps them recover from surgeries. He believes the work he does makes life better for the patients he engages with and gets real-world feedback regarding their progress. Even though he despises paperwork, he is able to meet his personal needs through his salary, doesn’t mind the schedule, and loves the other people he works with.

Supportive Priorities: Community, Security, Freedom/Convenience

…in between

Isaac is a middle school teacher. He believes his work is meaningful because he is helping kids learn about the world and about themselves. It’s really important to him to support kids in learning how to think critically and feel invested in learning. He had a teacher who did that for him and he credits that person with changing his life.

However, the work is hard. Hours are long, pay is low, and oftentimes he can’t reach the kids he feels need it most. He considers these things as coming with the territory however, and wouldn’t change what he does because of them.

…dissatisfied with the Paladin as a primary function.

Janelle is a research assistant in a psychology lab. She believes her work will someday make a big difference for people and is passionate about the process. However, recently she has had some serious health challenges and struggles to accommodate the medical expenses and functional demands of her work. Sometimes she wonders what it would be like to take a high-paying position and be better equipped to meet her basic needs.

Competing Priorities: Security, Freedom/Convenience

This feature from Fortune Magazine online explores an excellent example of a Paladin who quit her job for more purposeful work and details the priorities that factored into her decisions.

“Former Meta exec Saana Rapakko Hunt was head of core growth at Instagram before pandemic-induced “soul searching” forced her to reflect on her skewed work-life balance. She wanted a mission-aligned role she’d be passionate about to make leaving her kids every day worth it. Fittingly, her passion turned out to be supporting fellow parents at The Mom Project, a jobs website for mothers, where she currently serves as president. She was initially hired as chief product officer.

Rapakko describes herself as an ambitious person who has “always worked hard,” but she was willing to compromise on compensation—a roughly 40% salary cut—and name recognition—Instagram has two billion users compared to The Mom Project’s one million—but not the work itself.

To justify her move, Rapakko says her work must remain impactful and present new challenges commensurate with her professional experience, like presenting to The Mom Project’s board, leading multiple functions, and coaching her colleagues to think strategically. In short, it’s the work of a values-driven C-suite executive and a role that would likely have taken her far more years to attain at Instagram.”

Common Challenges for the Paladin:

Most likely to de-prioritize:

  • Security or Prosperity (They aren’t choosing jobs first on the metric of how well they’ll support them and may give money until it negatively impacts them)
  • Learning/Discovery  (Paladins can weigh so heavily on the Service Cornerstone that they spend less time prioritizing learning, growth, or discovery in their jobs or elsewhere)
    • Expression (Similarly to above, the focus on Service can be a detriment to investment in the Expression Cornerstone)
  • Freedom/Convenience (Paladins are motivated to make an impact above all else- that can mean sacrificing their time and energy in order to accomplish this. They might have a long commute, work a lot of overtime, or allow work to out-compete other things they care about in their lives).

May negatively affect:

  • Passion and joy (It is possible to not be passionate about the work that needs to be done to fulfill a purpose. For Paladins, making a difference is more important than enjoying their work.)
  • Connection/Community (Paladins can sacrifice time with friends or family to accomplish their mission(s). They may also have a breadth of connections versus a depth of connections).

Benefits Enjoyed by the Paladin:

  • Paladins experience high levels of meaning because meaningfulness is inherent to purpose- which in turn increases their likelihood of experiencing eudaimonic well-being.
  • Passion/Joy – It is possible for passion to overlap with purpose; likewise it is possible for Paladins to enjoy what they do! They can experience a lot of passion FOR their purpose.
  • Connection/Community – By doing work they care deeply about, they are more likely than many others to be surrounded by people with similar values. This can increase the sense of connection and community for Paladins.

Consider these exercises or information if the Paladin is your primary function…

  • Clarify your Values Exercises – Check out this collection of exercises to help you narrow down the things in life that really matter to you. You can then use this information to guide your life towards more meaning and satisfaction.
  • The Parts of Purpose – This page helps explain everything that goes into a purpose.
  • Purpose as your work – This page explains the relationship between purpose and work in our lives. It is chalk full of exercises and information about job satisfaction.
  • Busyness – The busyness section is dedicated to exploring how we spend our time and why we do it the way we do. Learn about how to spend your time on what matters to you and will make the biggest difference in your well-being.

5. Connection & Community – “The Pal”

If connection and community are your job’s primary function, your main reason for work is the sense of belonging, community, and connection that you have access to there.

Example stories of someone who is…

…satisfied with the Pal as a primary function.

Rory works at a summer camp. She absolutely adores her coworkers and the leadership staff in the community. She feels like she belongs there and is accepted by those around her. While she understands that she could make more money and have more security by going elsewhere for work, she sees working there as something she can temporarily make work as a young adult. While the workload is intense, she also believes she is making a difference for the kids she works with.

Supportive Priorities: Purpose

…in between

Noel works in marketing sales, which is perfect for her since she is a total extrovert. She is great at connecting with clients and making sales because working people comes so naturally to her. She also enjoys the people she works with- she feels valued and important in the social strata of her company. On the other hand, Noel doesn’t really care much about the products she sells, knows she could make more elsewhere (even though her needs are more than met here), and would appreciate more flexibility with her schedule. All in all, she’s fine with the job overall.

…dissatisfied with the Pal as a primary function.

Arno works for a technology firm and has become incredibly close with his coworkers. The work itself is fine and he is definitely skilled in it and appreciated by management, but he’s feeling a little stuck lately. There isn’t much room for him to continue growing in the company and doesn’t see a path forward. He continues to stay despite this because he doesn’t want to leave his friends behind.

Competing Priority: Growth and Learning

Common Challenges for the Pal:

Prioritizing connection and community may be less likely than other functions to hamper various other priorities, as it is largely personal who we feel drawn to be in community with. It is likely that whatever is de-prioritized in the community you are drawn to could also be deprioritized for you personally. That being said, choosing connection above all still has the potential to make impacts.

Most likely to de-prioritize:

  • Prosperity – Pals could choose to forego opportunities to build wealth in favor of staying around the people they care about.
  • Purpose – Pals may choose not to explore a personal purpose through their work. They get their sense of meaning from their relationships.
  • Learning/Discovery – Pals may stagnate in their learning/growth process at work because their relationships compete with the desire to grow. They may be less likely to self-actualize because they invest less in self-development opportunities (especially if this is something not valued by or invested in by the community)

May negatively affect:

  • Well-being – Pals can be poster children for Happiness as a Hindrance in that they get a great deal of joy from their relationships at work, but may not invest as much energy in meaning outside of the Love Cornerstone. This means that while their friendships are meaningful and enjoyable to them, they can limit them from self-expression, service, and discovery (the culmination of which leads to a more meaningful life and greater well-being overall).

Benefits Enjoyed by the Pal:

  • Sense of love and belonging – Pals are motivated by the Love Cornerstone of meaning and get great satisfaction from investing in their relationships. They benefit deeply from the life satisfaction that comes from connection and belonging.

Consider these exercises or information if the Pal is your primary function…

  • Happiness as a Hindrance – This section is a comprehensive overview about how prioritizing conventional happiness can be a hindrance to optimizing our well-being, which is relevant to Pals who prioritize enjoying time with friends to the detriment of other sources of meaning.
  • The Friendship Section – Learn nearly everything there is to learn about friendship and how it fits into your life!

6. Learning & Discovery – “The Scholar”

If learning and discovery are your job’s primary function, your main reason for your job is to learn, discover, or experiment in order to gain skills, grow, or for the sake of learning itself.

Example stories of someone who is…

…satisfied with the Scholar as a primary function.

Zhao is a political science student working as an intern in a diplomacy office. His responsibilities are dull (lots of administrative tasks) but he is learning a great deal by being exposed to the inner workings of the office and how the policy issues are being carried out. The work doesn’t pay super well but his loans and his family are helping support him while he is still in school. He sees the utility in spending his time in this position right now and would not choose to do a different job.

Supportive Priorities: Security

…in between

Jonna wants to be a highschool principal one day. She believes that in order to be a good principal she will need to really understand how schools function from multiple perspectives, so she has decided to work a little in various positions. While she started doing administrative work in the school office, she has decided it’s important to teach so she can understand the teacher’s experience. She is currently in her first year as a teacher and has discovered some parts of the job she enjoys. However, she views the position primarily as a learning experience for her future career.

…dissatisfied with the Scholar as a primary function.

Lora wants to be an investigative journalist. She doesn’t currently qualify for the position she wants due to a lack of professional experience. To build up her skill set and learn more about journalism she has taken a position at an online media outlet with her focus being on trends in the art scene. She is bored to death by the content she is learning and writing about, but she sees it as a necessary evil.

Competing Priorities: Passion/Joy

The Scholar archetype can manifest in a variety of forms. People invest in learning for a many of reasons:

  • Maybe they’re in the learning phase of their career, building skills for a future role they desire or to eventually increase their earning potential
  • Maybe they’re further along in their career, have the basics of the job down and they want a new role or responsibilities and are focusing on learning at the moment
  • Perhaps they enjoy learning for the sake of learning and enjoy exploring and challenging themselves (this could be a mix with the Enthusiast function)
  • Perhaps their job IS to learn, in that they work in some type of research capacity
  • They could be someone who has a lot of interests and changes what they do regularly, ending up cultivating new skills often because they enjoy it or because they get bored if they don’t (these folks are called “multipotentialites”; if you identify with this concept, check out the little section on them!)

Common Challenges for the Scholar:

Most likely to de-prioritize:

  • Security (Scholars aren’t choosing jobs first on the metric of how well they’ll be supported by them, but rather what can be learned there)
  • Purpose (Unless related to purpose(s) they are applying, the process of learning for the sake of personal growth or enjoyment can be unrelated to making an impact on the world outside the self)
  • Freedom/Convenience (Scholars may have a lot of parameters to meet in order to meet their learning goals. These priorities may interfere with other things they care about and take up their time and energy)

May negatively affect:

  • Prosperity (Scholars prioritize learning over wealth and will choose a job based on what they can earn their in terms of skills and knowledge more so than the money they can earn there. On another hand, they may not be in a position to earn beyond their needs due to a lack of skills if they are early on in a career)
  • Connection and Community (People prioritizing learning may be dedicating the majority of their time and energy to that goal versus investing in their relationships.)

Benefits Enjoyed by the Scholar:

  • Passion/Joy – Scholars can easily combine with the Enthusiast function if they are scholars because they enjoy learning for the sake of it! Their learning can enable them to increase skills, which can lead to greater investment and a greater likelihood of experiencing flow, increasing their passion for the thing they are learning about.
  • Purpose – Scholars may be learning for the sake of fulfilling their purpose; meaning they are learning in an effort to apply their knowledge and have an impact on the world beyond themselves.
  • Prosperity- Scholars may be scholars in service to the ultimate goal of increasing their earnings down the road. This would be a combination with the Business Person archetype.

Consider these exercises or information if the Scholar is your primary function…

  • Clarify your sparks – What are all the things that interest you? Let’s dig in and set the table with a bounty of delicious options for you to satiate your hunger for learning!
  • Clarify your values – Is the thing you’re dedicated to learning about (and the motivation behind your learning) in alignment with your deepest values? Once you’ve learned the skills or information you are seeking, will you be satisfied? Do the exercises on this page to clarify what’s most important to you and assess whether or not your current scholastic tendencies are in alignment.
  • How much money do you need? – If you’re a Scholar because you’re working to advance your career or earnings, take a moment to pause and suss out if your efforts are fully worth the time and energy.
  • Life Iterations
  • SMARTER Goals– This worksheet will help you refine your goals by making them specific and actionable, thus increasing their likelihood of achievement. This is important for the Scholar function as it can help clarify the motivations and applications of all that awesome learning!
  • The Discovery Cornerstone – Check out this section to learn about all the wonderful benefits of being an explorer and life-long learner.

7. Freedom & Convenience – “The Freebird”

If freedom and convenience are your job’s primary function, your work makes other parts of your life that are more important to you possible, either by allowing time, proximity, flexibility, or other resources.

Example stories of someone who is…

…satisfied with the Freebird as a primary function.

Hemat is a freelance podcast producer. He can work from wherever he wants whenever he wants as long as he delivers the product to his clients on time. He makes a bit more than he needs to meet his basic needs and doesn’t mind the nature of the work. He loves that his job makes it possible for him to enjoy his other pastimes (theater and music) and that he doesn’t feel committed to doing it forever. In fact, he appreciates learning about the industry and imagines it will come in handy someday when he decides to do something else.

Supportive Priorities: Security, Learning

…in between

Corman started Uber driving because he could do it on his terms and decide when and how much to work. He loves to travel and found it difficult to work in jobs with so many stipulations on vacation time. With the gig economy, he gets to work enough to save up for the next trip, and then head out without needing to ask for time off.

On the other hand, he doesn’t enjoy or care about any of the gig work. But for him that’s okay, as he sees the work as a means to an end. It makes other things that are important to him possible.

…dissatisfied with the Freebird as a primary function.

Melissa runs a t-shirt company through Amazon. It was not difficult for her to set up and make successful and it pulls in just enough money for her to fund her nomadic lifestyle. Sometimes she struggles with the ethics of selling items through Amazon and is worried she is making a negative impact. She also occasionally feels lonely running an independent business and wishes she had co-workers to collaborate with and be held accountable by.

Competing Priorities: Purpose, Community

There is a wide range of ways the Freebird archetype shows up. They may choose a job that is part-time with high pay so they can work fewer hours. They may choose a job with long hours for fewer days a week to free up fuller days. They may choose work that allows them only to pick projects that suit their needs. They may have a job they don’t enjoy and aren’t invested in because it allows them to focus on other things they enjoy or care about.

The primary factors at play for the Freebird are time and flexibility. One could confuse financial flexibility as a component for the Freebird, but that would be a secondary factor for these people (it is possible that one could be a combination of the Freebird and the Business Person in this scenario, however!). Freebirds are primarily focused on things in their lives that are happening outside of work and likely see work purely as an enabler of their other interests/priorities. Perhaps they need to take care of sick family members or children, or they’re invested in a passion for theater that doesn’t generate income but is meaningful to them, or they want to spend their time traveling or volunteering and they choose a job that enables them to dedicate their time to that. They could also be students in some manner, making time to learn outside of work.

Some examples of Freebird jobs:

  • Freelancers (copywriter, web developer, illustrator, designer)
  • Substitute teachers, tutors
  • Flight attendant
  • Consultant
  • Seasonal workers (resort workers, pot farmers, cruise ship workers)
  • Part-time professionals like lawyers, programmers, architects
  • Gig-workers (drivers, delivery, errand-runners)
  • Waiters, bartenders

Common Challenges for the Freebird:

Most likely to de-prioritize:

  • Security or Prosperity (Freebirds are choosing freedom and flexibility so they can focus on other things in their lives. Security and Prosperity aren’t the primary metrics upon which they’re assessing the desirability of a job.)
  • Purpose, Passion and Joy (It is likely that if you are prioritizing Freedom at work it is because you have sources of these outside of your job.)

May negatively affect:

  • Security or Prosperity (Freebirds are choosing freedom and flexibility so they can focus on other things in their lives- this can occasionally create a challenge where they aren’t choosing to focus on security or building wealth, as they aren’t as important to them.)

Benefits Enjoyed by the Freebird:

  • Meaning, Purpose, and Passion – Freebirds may be choosing flexible work because other things are more important to them that allow them to experience passion and/or purpose. If they are engaged in a passionate pursuit outside of work they likely benefit from the Expression cornerstone and experience meaning there. If they have a sense of purpose beyond their job they could be living into the Love or Service cornerstones as well.

Consider these exercises or information if the Freebird is your primary function…

  • Time Audit – If you’re a Freebird, your time is really important to you. Are you spending it all wisely? This exercise will help you see where your time is going, thus enabling you to maximize how you can use it best.
  • Clarify your values – Is the thing you’re dedicated to doing outside of work in alignment with your deepest values? Once you’ve learned the skills or information you are seeking, will you be satisfied? Do the exercises on this page to clarify what’s most important to you and assess whether or not your current scholastic tendencies are in alignment.
  • How much money do you need? – If you’re prioritizing flexibility in an effort to focus on other things and have stress around your income, it can be a breath of fresh air to understand exactly how much you really need to be making to have your needs met while you pursue what matters to you. Try this exercise to figure it out.

Choose Your Job’s Primary Function

Your job’s function affects your job satisfaction. And you can choose it!

A comprehensive workbook has been compiled to guide you through the process of choosing your job’s primary function. The workbook includes exercises for seeing how various parts of your life serve different functions and where your job fits into the big picture and questions for reflection.

Don’t forget that you can take the Ranked Job Functions quiz to help determine what’s most important to you!

To increase your job satisfaction, your next task after assessing what isn’t working and determining the current function your job plays in your life is to consciously choose the function you want your job to serve for right nowThis is covered in the exercise above. If you’ve decided what the primary function of your job is already, take a moment to write it down somewhere.

“The primary purpose of my job right now is  _________. It allows me to ___________. The important things that are missing from my job that I can cultivate elsewhere are _____________________________________.”

Congratulations! You’ve just made one of the biggest steps towards increasing your job satisfaction!

Purpose The Gist of Purpose Parts of Purpose Purpose Fundamentals Purpose in Context Purpose as your Work Should You Quit Your Job Purpose Myths Hindrances to Purpose Benefits of Purpose Passion The Purpose Journey Clarify your Purpose Align with your Purpose Support your Purpose Purpose Practice and Exercises Purpose Resources