Self-Actualization in the Workplace


Last week, I dropped by and found my friends who are studying business doing revision, and when I asked them for more details, they kept telling me ‘you have to be self-actualized’. Woo~ I have zero knowledge about business or accounting or marketing whatever (okay, stop teasing me! my bad) , but I understood what they were saying! Self-actualizing in work ethics, that’s the topic they are doing. As I was pretty interested in what self-actualization do with business, I decided to help them to do revision using my curiosity.

‘Self-actualizing in work ethics…. is whatever post you are in, because you have unlimited potentials, you should look for ways to self-actualize yourself, you can always find something to learn, something to self-actualize, and practice make perfect!’ Keep referring the notes they have, my friends told me with enthusiasm.

Oh…I forget to mention what is self-actualization. The concept of self-actualization came from humanistic psychologist Marslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in which self-actualization is at the highest level of needs and is a process of thriving and developing as a person in order to achieve individual potentials which is unlimited and because of that the process of self-actualization never complete itself.

To me, self-actualization is a beautiful phrase, talking about the motivation within, which is so powerful that can help turning dreams into reality or sharpening the skills you have to a new level that no one have attained before.

But the description my friends gave me is a twist of such a beautiful idea, turning it into a business gimmick to force employees to do things they may not be interested or have no room for improvement (such as putting dough in a machine every day, may be for the first month the worker can develop skills on putting the dough in a right time, doing the job quicker, but as a goal to become a person, I really can’t see the point) And this remind me of the ‘fake positive thinking’, that in the American culture, when you cannot do something, everyone tells you to think positively, that ‘you can do it!’. When you are sad, everyone tell you to be cheerful, not to think about the negative side. This turns out the negative feelings, ideas are repressed but not resolved, obviously this is not realistic as well. Applying the same idea to self-actualization i business, blindly put an idea into business to force you to think positively about a hostile environment instead of changing the environment itself shift the responsibility to yourself instead of the environmental factors may give you a sense of control, but it also means that you are always under the feeling of hopelessness as you tried your best but nothing changed.

Luckily, I looked through the internet about work ethics and found that it is different from what my friends described, the self- actualization in the work place means the employers have the responsibility to provide an environment suitable for self-actualization of their employees. I hope that’s always the case.

At the end of discussion with my business friends, one of them agreed with what I said, but for the exams she still have to memorize the theory on the notes, while the other one said the theory on the notes do makes sense, I can’t help but think of the picture I uploaded.