The recent swings in the economy have been very stressful for people. We may think that it isn’t the time to look at our work and the money we make. But as my friend and colleague Barbara Stanny recently wrote, every crisis is a wake-up call, urging us to examine what is happening and asking us to consider doing things different.

So in this light, I ask you– is your work “working” for you? Now IS the time to examine this.

For the past month I’ve been blogging about your relationship between work and money. I’ve shared several case studies of people’s relationship to work and money. There was the story of Diane- she made great money but her work didn’t work for her. There was Joanna—she loved her job, but the money didn’t work.

Completing a work history inventory will help you explore how your decisions about work may have affected your entire approach to life.

It can be an important step in identifying underearning issues. And this exercise can also help you discover your own definition of meaningful work, as well as begin to create a vision for the lifestyle you desire.

Once you explore that vision and match it with what you need to earn, you will be on the road to living the life you want to live. (To help you, I’ve also created a more comprehensive Work History Exercise PDF and placed it on my site for you. Yes, it’s free. Go here to download it. The link is located under the picture of my book on the right. Below is a slightly simplified version that you can use right now.)

To start with, I want you to get a sheet of paper and list out every job you’ve ever had; in the order you had them. Yes, all of them, whether they were paid or unpaid, part- or full-time, years ago or recent. For some people, this is quite a list! Think back to mowing the lawn, early fast-food jobs and all the jobs you’ve had over the years.

Once you’ve compiled the list, write the title of each job at the top of a separate sheet of paper. (If you’ve had 18 jobs that means you’ll have 18 pieces of paper.) Then, thoughtfully answer these questions below about each job.

  1. How did you get this job?
  2. While you were doing this job, how did you feel about your work?
  3. What skills did you use or develop in this job?
  4. How much money did you earn?
  5. How did you feel about the money that you earned? Did you feel you were paid what you deserved?
  6. Why and how did you leave this job?
  7. How much time did you have between this job and the next one?

When you’re done, spread all your papers on a table or the floor and take some time to examine them. What do you notice and how do you feel when you see them all laid out together? Now take a few deep breaths and answer the following 4 questions:

  1. Which job(s) did you find the most enjoyable, satisfying, and rewarding? Describe.
  2. Which job(s) did you like least? Why?
  3. Describe any patterns you notice regarding the types of jobs you’ve had.
  4. Describe anything else you notice about your work and earning patterns

You may find it fascinating to see what comes up for you when you go through this exercise. It’s just another angle from which to view and understand your relationship with money. It can be very useful for you to make notes about the patterns you observe in your relationship with work and earning.

And asking yourself whether the money you’ve earned has allowed you to meet your needs facilitates another layer of growth in your Financial Recovery.

It is not surprising that exploring your relationship between work and money is key to creating a rewarding career that is both satisfying and financially rewarding.

The field of “money coaching” is exploding right now, and Financial Recovery Counseling is the most effective form of money coaching around. If you would like a rewarding profession where you can earn what you deserve while you help people heal their own issues around money, spending and earning, please look at our training program. We’ll share the best kept secret— an amazing business opportunity that is also the most important profession of the 21st century.

August 17th, 2011 by Karen McCall