Thinking About Work
How do I figure out if work is possible for me?
Figuring out if work is possible for you is part of deciding about your “readiness” for work. We sometimes think of these as the Motivational Foundations for working, i.e, the steady ground from which we may “make the leap” to work. The following questions will look at 4 Beliefs related to Thinking about Work. These 4 Beliefs are adapted from Motivational Foundations for Vocational Recovery from Vocational Peer Support (Nicolellis & Legere, 2015):
|Belief 1||Do I think work is possible for me?|
|Belief 2||Do I want work in my life?|
|Belief 3||Do I think working will be worth it to me?|
|Belief 4||Do I believe I can make work happen in my life?|
As you make your way through the following questions, remember that this section is not the only section that may be important. Things like your need for a change, how much support you have for making a change happen, and how much you know about yourself and the world of work may make a difference in your decision-making, too. Take a look at other sections if they interest you.
Belief 1: Do I think work is possible for me?
Considering whether work is possible for you may be a matter of belief and attitude about your capacity to recover. It may be that the more you believe that work is possible, or “in the cards” for you, it is more likely that you will work. Do you, as Emily Dickinson said, “…dwell in possibility…”?
To think about whether you think that work is possible for you, consider:
- Do you believe that it is possible for you to work?
- Do you foresee work in your own life?
- To what extent do you think that work is “in the cards” for you?
- Do you think your belief that work is possible is high, medium, or low?
Belief 2: Do I want work in my life?
Wanting work in your life is akin to seeing work as desirable. Finding work desirable means that you like, or want, work. The question here is, do you want to have a work life?
To explore this question, ask yourself the following questions, and estimate for yourself how desirable work is for you.
- Do I think I want work in my life?
- Do I want to have a workplace, coworkers, a boss?
- Do I want to get a paycheck?
- Do I want to have work tasks to do?
- Do I like the idea of a job?
- Do I think my desire for work is high, medium, or low?
Belief 3: Do I think I can do it?
The question of “Do I think I can do it?” is sometimes called, “self-efficacy.” Self-efficacy, when we talk about work, can be thought of as whether you believe that you can make a vocational change happen in your life. The question is not necessarily about whether others believe that you can, but the extent to which you believe that you can. As Henry Ford reportedly said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
To explore this Belief, ask yourself the following questions, and estimate for yourself the extent to which you think you can make work happen in your own life.
- Do I have experience with making vocational changes happen?
- Do I believe I have what it takes to make a vocational change happen?
- To what extent do I believe I have what it takes to take the necessary steps toward working?
Belief 4: Do I think it’s worth it to me?
One of the questions to ask yourself when considering work is whether making this change is going to worth it to you or not. Deciding whether making a work change will be worth it or not is based on the risks and benefits of making this change. (Nicolellis & Legere, 2015; Cohen, Farkas, et. al. 2000).
What are Benefits of making a change?
A benefit is something that you would gain, such as money, status, a meaningful role, or having something to do during the day.
What are Risks of making a change?
Risks relate to what you might lose as a result of working. It may be something you see as negative, similar to the “cons” of “pros and cons.” Examples are different for every person, but may include losing free time, losing benefits, or concerns about having a boss or deadlines.
To explore this Belief, consider the following questions, and estimate for yourself the extent to which you think it’s worth it to you to move toward working now.
- What do I think the benefits of working are for me?
- What do I think the risks of working are going to be for me?
- Do I think the benefits to me outweigh the risks?
- Do I think the risks outweigh the benefits?
For more on Thinking about the Possibility of Work, see these resources: Self-Directed Psychiatric Rehabilitation Activities, McNamara, et. al., 2011. Vocational Peer Support Trainee Handbook and Toolkit, Nicolellis, et.al., 2015. Gifts and Possibilities, Bissonette (video).