Many of us wish to work in a field that brings fulfilment, but how can we be certain of  what that is? According to research, it is extremely difficult for people to foresee how  they will feel about a situation in the future. It is common to find someone who started  out thinking that they would like their chosen profession, only to end up hating it. To be  fair, how can you tell if you will be happy working as a banker or educator without  experiencing the field? Who has ever taken a job and it comes out exactly as they had  hoped it would be? 

So what should one follow if passion and happiness are ineffective as a guide? 

You may start by choosing a profession that complements your abilities and values. This  is a great place to start because you would have a general idea of what those are. You  also want to find a job that provides a motivational match for you. 

You can get motivated to accomplish your goals in one of two ways. Some people  frequently view goals (in life and at work) as chances for success, development, and  rewards. We consider what we could gain if we are successful in achieving them. If this is  how you view your objectives, you have what is referred to as a promotion focus. The  rest of us perceive our objectives as being concerned with security – about keeping what  we have worked hard for. When you are more prevention-focus, you want to stay out of  harm’s way, carry out your duties, and be a reliable person. You want to keep things  running smoothly. 

Everyone is driven by both promotion and prevention, although we frequently have a  motivational emphasis that is strong in some aspects of life, such as job, love, and  parenthood. It is important to understand that both promotion and prevention have  specific aspects to them, as you can see below:

Promotion- focus Prevention-focus
Creativity & Innovation Thoroughness and detail-oriented
Seizing opportunities Analytical thinking and reasoning
Embracing risk Planning Working quickly
Accuracy Generating options and alternatives Reliability 
Abstract thinking Anticipating problem

Promotion Focus vs Prevention Focus

If you are promotion-focused, look for positions that offer growth and advancement.  Think of fast-paced areas like technology or social media, where the ability to spot  possibilities will be crucial and where products and services are changing quickly. 

If you are prevention-focused, search for careers that provide you with a sense of  security and stability. You are skilled at managing complexity, keeping things going  smoothly, and always having a Plan B ready to go. Think about professions like lawyers  or doctors where your thoroughness and attention to detail are rewarded. 

At this point, you ought to be more aware of your career focus. Once you know your  primary focus, you can assess your motivational fit for other occupations or roles in your  career. Research shows that people are more productive and offer more value to their  job when their motivation and work style match. They also tend to be more engaged  and interested in their work. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here. 

Charlot Cauchi is a Gestalt Psychotherapist at Willingness. He has experience with adult  clients with mental health difficulties, anxiety, depression, loss, trauma, stress and  relational issues.


1. Halvorson, H. G. & Higgins, E.T. (2013). Focus: Use different ways of seeing the  world for success and influence. Hudson Street Press.