I created this "Maslow's hierarchy of jobs" about 20 years go. Iv'e found to be good guide for when was time to move on (or stay). If you're failing at one or more of the lower 5 levels (pay not likely to continue, getting paid but nobody cares what you do) might be time to find a more productive gig.

You probably won't see this from HR in goals setting and performance management sessions.

How fitting, you just hit me at the right moment with this!!

Right now with my current job I am questioning the USEFULLness and INTERESTINGness.

@anonimno You've got to balance things. I didn't put "people are depending on me, so maybe I'll stay put" or "maybe If I stuck it out here I would learn to work through adversity and grow as a person" or many other important considerations here. But as a rubric, I've found this to be helpful.

@anonimno @eludom I suspect it hits a lot of people at the right time 🙋‍♂️

@eludom My job satisfies all of these actually.

It could do better in some areas, most notably "connected". The issue is that I'm producing a lot more than would be typical but am still on the typical track because they don't really know what to do with me.

However, whenever I look around for something else it fails more severely.

@eludom cool! I never made anything as clear as this but think mine would be different.

'Interesting' is the base for me, always what drove me hardest and has paid off throughout a long career. I'm guessing actually that what I find 'satisfying' also tends to involve other things, so 'moral' and 'level of pay' while secondary feed directly into satisfaction.

I always did side stuff that was about maximising this and have me skills to move until now everything is *my* side stuff, no 'work' work.

@happybeing I too am driven strongly by "interesting" (note it's the top of my pyramid) and a lot of these drive "satisfying" or "fulfilling" which are important. But this is essentially one dimensional ranking of of a multivariate problem. You could go all wonky and use spider diagrams and other viz techniques, but then it would be harder to understand. I'ts just one tool for thinking about things.

@eludom I agree, and did understand the points you make. What I'm saying I think it's not thinking about this that worked for me. Around me I saw others doing that, but I always went for what felt right.

So thinking could work, or not. Same with following interest (feeling), but I suspect that people who feel their way include multiple variables without knowing.

@happybeing and the honest truth is (for me) things have worked out in large part because of the times, who I knew and dumb luck. Plan that :-/

@eludom same here. I accept that I'm incredibly privileged in a historical and global context. Many who will see our words will share or understand that privilege, so I think it's still useful for us to share our experiences and thoughts.

I'm less convinced about luck. It can be an easy rationalisation that undermines the will, as well as inhibiting analysis and understanding.

@happybeing "Interesting" is about me/my satisfaction in what I do. To be in a position to choose "interesting" work is a first world problem. For most people throughout history it has been a choice of your family eating or not. You only need to get up to ""PAY" and maybe "STABILITY" for that.

And for me it does not matter if something is interesting if it's not moral [insert stuff about killing babies or similar heinous crimes here]...but "Honesty is praised and starves", Juvenal

@eludom I've been grappling with the the first level quite a lot with my current job. It isn't like, evil, but I do find that it doesn't align with a lot of my moral values compared to when I started the job. But it ticks off the rest of the levels reasonably well.

@eludom hunh. I admit, I'd have put moral a little further up, but a) we may be using different definitions, b) I've had a number of "please just pay me enough that I don't get evicted" jobs

@eludom also, this is an interesting comparison to this hierarchy of jobs the hr dept. put in the Awful Training I was doing last week.

@eludom also again, your display name is making me sing "Don't Rock the Juke box"

@aldersprig @eludom weird that ‘i’m extremely stressed’ is the second best? Option on there

@eludom i feel lucky that my job only misses the mark on connected. Unless I am misinterpreting the meaning. My work is underpaid for the service it provides to the community. Otherwise it hits all of these.

@eludom Me parece muy interesante este trabajo. Quizá muchos trabajos dejen de ser rentables al aplicarle esta norma... Me gusta.

@eludom thinking of this in terms of maslow's hierarchy i'd do something more like

pay at the bottom taking up 70% of the area of the triangle
stability a thick slice above it
all the other considerations in the little triangle on top

@carcinopithecus suit yourself.

I made that in the dot bomb era when I was working for UUNET/WorldCom (now Verizon Business) ... I smelled a rat at the time but wasn't quite sure what .... turns out they were cooking the books to boost stock price, and the CEO (Bernie Ebbers) went to jail. That's not the kind of thing I want my life's work supporting.

At the point we were also getting clear signals that the company didn't care what you did. They just wanted people to quit. I left.

I really like the base level. It was a big motivator for me to take my current job.

All levels are good for me. Knocking on wood for 2 through 4 to continue.

@eludom hmm... eork is before pay? So you would rather work than get paid for doing nothing?

@eludom really nice! At this point in my career I would switch "stability" with "interesting". I also like the fact you put "Moral" first and foremost.

@eludom From the Overthinking All The Things Dept., thoughts on your Maslow's Hierarch of Jobs"

I like the basic notion, I think the specifics and ordering may be flawed, even the notion of a pyramid (a complaint also applying to Maslow's notion).

Interesting paralels to Adam Smith's five determinants of wages. And definitely food for thought.


@dredmorbius I'm with you on overthinking everything !

Read the comments on your blog, but I've created too many accounts too many places already. I agree with /appreciate a lot of the discussion.

I will readily admit to pulling Maslow out of context (having had psych 101 20 years prior to that chart).

For me, it was just a way, in the middle of dot-bomb to think about work, my situation and what I valued. I encourage others to disagree, reorder, completely ignore....

@eludom The nugget is good. The details ... may need some polishing. Maslow hisself is flawed.

But a useful framing.

Discussion happens here it is. Diaspora allows for longer and more structured posts & comments. Mastodon has its own affordances. Both lack search.

Bt I'm in both places.

@dredmorbius The fact that people are reading it, thinking about it, and disagreeing with it is success. Back to "the un-examined life....".

It sat gathering digital dust for 20 years and I almost didn't think it was worth posting.

I think it also points out that a) there is a lot of the same sort of angst out there that made me write it and b) at least some of the issue don't change (even if they could be re-ordered or augmented).

And, people here dig ASCII art !

@eludom Who put Moral on the bottom? C'mon man... that is clearly somewhere after stability and before interesting. 😉

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