Tag Archives: career

Extending Ikigai: The 6P framework

Most people are familiar with the Japanese concept of Ikigai or what makes you jump out of your bed in the morning and enables you to look forward with joy to the work activities of the day.

In a nutshell, its finding the sweet spot between what you are good at, what you love doing, what the word needs and what the world can pay you for. Today I want to extend this framework when it comes to thinking about why one works and why one should, or indeed does, choose one career over another.

Before proceeding ahead I will like to quickly recap the job, career, calling distinction made by Amy Wrezesnewicki when it comes to attitudes towards work. The particular orientation one has towards work has implications for motivation etc a succinctly summarized in image below:

Now, what I propose is a 6P framework of thinking about what factors should or do affect career choice: Pay, Pleasure, Power, Potential, Purpose and Passion. I claim that people with a job orientation would be driven by Pay and Pleasure; those with career orientations by Power and Potential ; while those having primarily a calling orientation would be driven by Purpose and Passion.

But to appreciate that claim we need to drill down into what the 6P’s stand for.

Pay is about providing for the basic necessities of life: in an ideal career choice, it should provide enough so that basic necessities are taken care of and money in not the top-of-the-mind concern. When you are primarily motivated by Pay to the exclusion of other needs than it becomes problematic. But while you are driven by Pay for your career choices you are primarily in job orientation and do not derive that much satisfaction/ happiness form your work.

Pleasure is all about having a comfortable and relaxed work schedule and atmosphere; one wants to do stress free work as far as possible; viewed from another angle you want to do work you enjoy on a daily basis. Your guidance for selecting or remaining in a career would be whether you love what you do. I would argue that one is still in job orientation and focusing on hygiene factors or at best perks that do not lead to lasting fulfillment.

Power is the desire to wield influence over others and to be recognized by others as being a person of high status. One looks forward to roles sand responsibilities which are prestigious and provide opportunities to showcase one’s skills and abilities. Having power does lead to more satisfaction/ better health as evidenced by the ill health and unhappiness amongst those who are not in a position of power in an organization. Many people get a real dopamine boost from thinking how big a team size they manage or how many people report to them.

Potential as I refer to it here is the ability of the job to tap into your inherent potential and capabilities and provide growth opportunities. Some jobs are dead end jobs- may give you good money, be comfortable and even have power associated, but they do not grow you as a person/ professional. How one can char a personal career roadmap where one is growing is top of the mind for many people while choosing / sticking with careers. Here they are functioning primarily in career orientation as they do when driven by Power.

Purpose is all about finding the work meaningful and being able to feel useful and contributing. Meaningfulness arises form working towards a cause bigger than oneself where one make a difference in the real world around them. People who are guided by purpose, its my thesis will be primarily having a calling orientation for work and assume a higher purpose behind whatever they choose to devote their time to.

Passion is about being driven by things that are aligned with your deepest values and motivations and which again you feel called for. You are so invested in those activities and have become so passionate about them, that that work has become your second nature. Passion that you have cultivated, and which is aligned with your values, makes work energizing and deeply rewarding- it may not be fun always but you will persevere and see it through and have a satisfaction when done.

You can also see that while Pay, Power and Purpose are focused on the outer world and slightly dependent on external factors, Pleasure, Potential and Passion are more related to our inner world and more in our control.

So what do you think of this extended framework? Would it guide your career choice henceforth? Which factor do you prioritize as of now? Which would you like to prioritize in the future?