career status anxiety

Rashid Rana PakistanThere are two kinds of career status says author Roman Krznaric in his book How to Find Fulfilling Work: one is to have a job esteemed by others and the second is to have a greater degree of perceived success in relation to others.  The need to compare is pathological:

famous study in behavioural economics showed that if given a choice between earning $50,000 a year with everyone else earning $25,000, or earning $100,000 while others earned $200,000, the majority of people would choose the former.

Both kinds of status lead to endless cycles of anxiety:

The writer and spiritual thinker C.S. Lewis understood this problem when he said that most of us desire to be a member of an ‘inner ring’ of esteemed or important people, but we ‘will reach no “inside” that is worth reaching’ since there are always more rings within it.

Most of us?  More than 50% of us are anxious about this elusive desire?  But there is a way out of the cycle of anxiety. Krznaric recommends an exercise, a simple question that you ask yourself:

Who do you imagine is judging your work status – perhaps family, old friends or colleagues? Do you want to grant them that power?

Who Are You Trying to Impress? How to escape status anxiety, Published on March 15, 2013 by Roman Krznaric in How to Find Fulfilling Work

photograph by Rashid Rana, Pakistan

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