We need to adopt an approach to establishing and maintaining our employment and earning capacity – how we go about qualifying for and finding meaningful employment that will support our chosen lifestyles in a way that is both morally and ethically in accordance with our values and beliefs.
Understanding what we jobs we want and need is about who we are, who we are becoming, and where we want to find ourselves. This understanding is deeply connected to what matters most to us in our lives and how we can best provide the space, time, resources, and energy to do those things well. For different people, different things will matter when considering their employment and earning capacity. Some career paths may not give us a lot of time to spend with our families. Some are less likely to make us significantly wealthy. Some may not necessarily align with our underlying sense of purpose and meaning. Some of us may never find a perfect fit between our job and vocation we feel we are called to. Nevertheless, the underlying principles remain the same: understanding where we want to be in the future is essential to understanding what we want and need to do today.
We need to secure employment that will help us to realise our goals on The Pathway to Excellence. Each one of us will need to pay our own way. This means we need to think about how much income we will require to support the lifestyle that aligns with our reasonable expectations for the future. We may make more or less money throughout our lives; the most important question is whether the making of this money itself aligns with our purpose and values. Our approach to career development is something we will consider elsewhere; for present purposes we need to ensure that we can match lifestyle to employment and earning capacity. We will not thrive unless we can get these fundamental calculations worked out and synchronise them with our disposition to work hard and gain the qualifications we need to enter into our desired area of employment.
For many of us, that path begins with tertiary education. Tertiary education can be expensive and sometimes studying to gain employment qualifications comes with the reality of student debt. This is a normal situation that calls on us to build networks of trusted advisors and experience in managing the risk and decision making involved in taking on this sort of commitment. We can consider this critical thinking and reflection an investment in ourselves, our education, and our journey towards becoming our future selves. Many countries and financial institutions have student debt repayment plans that are designed to work with us rather than against us, so that we can both receive our qualifications and pay it back as our earning capacity increases.
“I know why most people never get rich. They put the money ahead of the job. If you just think of the job, the money will automatically follow. This never fails.”
Actively seeking the advice and opinions of career counsellors can also be very useful in this process. They can help us understand what is and isn’t plausible; they can help us to learn about the realistic salary profiles for a variety of jobs that may interest and suit us and they can help us make good choices about our future careers. The advice needs to be informed by our personal and professional goals for the future. At the same time, while we prepare with success in mind, we need to be aware that life moves around us regardless of our intention. Our career paths will have many twists and turns. To flourish under these circumstances, we need to strengthen our employment and earning capacity through our competency as continuous learners and unlearners as we reset, moderate and shift our expectations and goals.
We can contemplate our Employment and Earning Capacity by considering the following questions: