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The 5 reasons to take on a role

Max Farrell is the co-founder of Create Reason, an innovation experience firm that instills a culture of intrapreneurship inside established companies. Why-are-we-here-mystery-human-meaning-purpose-existence
 
We’ve all heard of the mid-life crisis (or quarter-life crisis for millennials like myself), but do we ever think about the mid-role crisis? To elaborate, this is the evaluation we put ourselves through based on the role we currently occupy. It’s asking that big question: “Why am I doing this?"
 
This is asked by leaders all the way down to the folks starting their careers. Whether for work or community efforts, it’s essential to periodically re-evaluate the roles we occupy and the benefits it brings to our personal and professional lives. But measuring it has always been tricky beyond “gut feeling”. 
 
I’ve been in this position as well, wanting to measure my effectiveness in a professional role mixed with my desire to continue in that role. Based on this evaluation we always give ourselves, I thought through the “boxes” we use to justify career decisions. Ultimately, I think there are 5 reasons why we fulfill a role, either in a company, as an entrepreneur, as a student or as a community member. 
 
Some tie directly to the traditional growth expectations of a role, others are more personal. Either way, I think you’ll find value asking yourself, “why do I occupy the role I’m in and what am I gaining from it?” Hopefully you can evaluate the roles you occupy based on the 5 reasons below: 
 
1. Financial gain - This is one of the most obvious reasons we pursue a role — we make money doing so. This reason could be because we want to pay down debt, care for our families, increase our savings or buy something desirable. Whatever the case, this kind of gain means we may be willing to sacrifice in the interest level we have with a role to roll up the sleeves and have a greater financial gain. 
 
2. Knowledge gain - Sometimes we want to learn in order to propel ourselves to the next level. This often takes form when we “go back to school” to pursue an MBA, but knowledge gain happens at offices every week. Have you ever taken on a task at work and treated it like a puzzle? Then you’ve probably sought knowledge gain. This sort of approach can help with other gains like financial or reputation, but a genuine curiosity has to be the initial guide. 
 
3. Reputation gain - In the midwest we’re humble, but it’s no secret many of us strive to do things to boost our reputation, our clout, our status or our ego. It’s why some of us take on board seats on non-profits or lead a less-desirable project at work. We want the recognition, as it can tie back to benefits beyond reputation. 
 
4. Network gain - I’ve heard “your network is your net worth”; it often holds true. Sometimes we do things to grow our network of connections (beyond just adding someone on LinkedIn). Before we can connect the dots (and add value to relationships), we have to collect the dots. Building an arsenal of good people that you can use to learn from or to do business with is essential in growing oneself. You need good people to take on tasks at a company, within an organization or in the community. 
 
5. Intrinsic gain - The final reason we take on a role is simply because it feels like the right thing to do. Many board seats are secured this way — it feels good to help out an organization with a worthy cause. Others may be serving as a mentor or advisor to a fledgling professional or project. Intrinsic gain is often used for personal satisfaction, but winds up having far reaching positive impact. 
 
The next time you’re thinking of taking on a new role or evaluating your own? Check the list above and evaluate whether you’re doing it for the right reasons or any reason at all. 
 

Do you think there are other reasons people take on roles? Share your thoughts below or by email: max@createreason.com 

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Max startupEmail: max@createreason.com

Twitter: @MaxOnTheTrack / @CreateReason

Web: CreateReason.com

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