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What type of worker are you?

February 1, 2022

Thinking about what the average worker wants from a job no longer makes sense in the modern economy, according to the recent research ‘The Working Future: Re-humanizing work’. As personalities have fragmented throughout history, so have attitudes toward work.

The authors found significant variation in scores in all 10 countries covered in the research – Brazil, United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria.

Despite the variation in attitudes from person to person, the report attests patterns emerge. Six archetypes around which workers tend to converge were identified:

OPERATORS find meaning and self-worth primarily outside of their jobs. When it comes down to it, they see work as a means to an end. They’re not particularly motivated by status or autonomy, and generally don’t seek to stand out in their workplace. They tend to prefer stability and predictability. Thus, they have less interest in investing to change their future compared with other archetypes. At the same time, Operators are one of the more team-minded archetypes, and often see many of their colleagues as friends. At their best, they are the team players that form the backbone of the organization. At their worst, they are disengaged and lack proactivity.

GIVERS find meaning in work that directly improves the lives of others. They are the archetype least motivated by money. They often gravitate toward caring professions such as medicine or teaching, but can also thrive in other lines of work where they can directly interact with and help others. Their empathetic nature typically translates into a strong team spirit and deep personal relationships at work. At the same time, their more cautious nature means they tend to be forward planners, who are relatively hesitant to jump on new opportunities as they arise. At their best, they are selfless, helping to build the trust every organization needs to function. At their worst, they may be impractical or naive.

“ARTISANS seek out work that fascinates or inspires them. They are motivated by the pursuit of mastery. They enjoy being valued for their expertise, although they are less concerned with status in the broader sense. Artisans typically desire a high degree of autonomy to practice their craft and place the least importance on camaraderie of all the archetypes. While many find a higher purpose in work, this is more about passion than altruism. At their best, they are able to solve even the most complex of challenges. At their worst, they can be aloof and lose sight of bigger objectives.

“EXPLORERS value freedom and experiences. They tend to live in the present and seek out careers that provide a high degree of variety and excitement. Explorers place a higher-than-average importance on autonomy. They are also more willing than others to trade security for flexibility. They typically don’t rely on their job for a sense of identity, often exploring multiple occupations during their lifetime. Explorers tend to adopt a pragmatic approach to professional development, obtaining only the level of expertise needed. At their best, they will enthusiastically throw themselves at whatever task is required of them. At their worst, they are directionless and lack conviction.

“STRIVERS have a strong desire to make something of themselves. They are motivated by professional success, and value status and compensation. They are forward planners who can be relatively risk averse, as they opt for well-trodden paths to success. Strivers are willing to tolerate less variety so long as it is in service of their longer-term goals. They tend to define success in relative terms, and thus can be more competitive and transactional in their relationships than most other archetypes. At their best, they are disciplined and transparent. At their worst, their competitiveness degrades trust and camaraderie within the organization.

“PIONEERS are on a mission to change the world. They form strong views on the way things should be and seek out the control necessary to achieve that vision. They are the most risk-tolerant and future-oriented of all the archetypes. Pioneers identify profoundly with their work. Their vision matters more than anything, and they are willing to make great personal sacrifices accordingly. Their work relationships tend to be more transactional in nature. Their vision is often at least partly altruistic, but it is distinctly their own. At their best, they mobilize their infectious energy to bring about lasting change. At their worst, they are uncompromising and imperious.”


Source: Bain & Company