Category Archives: Careers

Locus of Control

“A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle”.

– Buddha

As of late, I have come across the topic of locus of control a couple times.  During a strategic planning meeting at work, the Vice President of HR mentioned that we need leaders who have an internal locus of control as part of the committee that will be implementing our new strategic plan for our health care centers to comply with The Triple Aim.  I have also recently come across the topic at a leadership training seminar at Binghamton University.

So, what is Locus of Control and how is it relevant to your personal finances?

Locus of Control is a concept by Julian Rotter that became popular in the 1960’s.  It is based on the degree of how much power people have over situations in their lives.  People who have an internal locus of control think that they can influence events in their lives.  People who have an external locus of control blame others or outside forces for everything that happens to them.

People who have an internal locus of control tend to be self-aware.  They are empathic towards others.  They are good at self-regulating their emotions, thoughts, and perceptions.  People who have an internal locus of control normally are good at delaying gratification.

Those who have an external locus of control are more likely to be the bellwether.  They are a good indicator of trends or predictions of a group.  They value feedback, believe in fairness, and focus on the actions of others.

Locus of Control can play a role in how successful you are in the long-term.  If you have an internal locus of control you are more likely to believe that it is up to you to take charge of your life and take the required actions to succeed.  For those who fall into the external locus of control group, it does not mean that you will not be successful, it just means that you put more stock into luck vs will.

Saving Money

A person with an internal locus of control is very likely to be committed to saving money.  They feel the need to be self-reliant.  They want to make sure that they have enough resources to take care of any situation that might occur.

A person who has an external locus of control is less likely to worry about saving money.  They are likely to feel that the system is rigged and saving is impossible because everything is so expensive nowadays.  Even if they tried to save more, they believe that something would happen and they would have to spend the money anyway.

Debt

Those who have an internal locus of control are less likely to have excessive debt.  That is because they can display more control over their financial situations.  It is ultimately their responsibility to manage their financial situation and do not want to error and fall behind to a creditor.

For those who have an external locus of control, debt is an easy solution to a financial situation.  Since they do not have enough saved or feel that they are not paid enough, they can justify the debt.  They will fall into the mindset of “it will get paid” or “hopefully, I will come across a windfall to pay it off”.

Investing

People who have an internal locus of control are more likely to be investors.  Since they feel like they have the mastery over their life, they are going to invest their money to improve their financial situation.  They are willing to invest in a business, education, or stocks to put themselves in a better financial situation.

People who fall into the external locus of control group do not tend to be investors.  They are less likely to invest is stocks because they are too risky.  If they do invest and lose money, they feel that it was fate and they should not be putting their money at risk in the first place.

Careers

Employees who have an internal locus of control start their career by being prepared for the job interview.  They assume responsibility for failures and look for ways to improve their performance.  They credit their success on effort and preparation.

Employees who have an external locus of control feel that jobs are awarded to people based on politics or nepotism.  When something goes wrong, they do not assume responsibility, but rather blame others.  If there is a positive outcome, it is viewed as just being lucky.

Do you have a high Internal or External Locus of Control? 

Are you curious to see if you have a strong internal or external locus of control?  Please see this article on locus of control at mindtool.com.  It has a 22-answer test to determine if you have an internal or external locus of control.

What can be done about the Locus of Control

In my K.I.S.S. approach to Financial Independence, I have stated that this blog is about being positive and honest with yourself.

With that being written, what can you do if you want to shift your external locus of control more towards the center?

You can start by being more mindful.  Start by being more aware of how you are feeling and responding to situations.  For example, if someone at work gets a promotion and you feel the promotion was awarded due to favoritism, stop and identify that thought as being linked to your external locus of control.  Change the narrative in your mind to “they worked hard for the promotion and if I work hard, positive events will come to pass for me too”.

Take a mental inventory of each situation you face.  How are you responding to situations?  The solution is based on adjusting how you think about external situations.

Conclusion

If you find that you have a high external locus of control, stop being a victim to this state of mind.  Take charge of your life and destiny by changing how you are mentally framing situations that occur in your life.  If you do, great things are sure to happen.

Changing your locus of control is not easy.  It is, however, possible if you are willing to be vigilant.  Take a personal inventory every day and follow it up with positive action.

Become a Nurse

 

If you want a meaningful career that pays well and offers stability, consider becoming a nurse.  No matter if you are a traditional student or an adult learner who is planning on going back to college, becoming a nurse is an excellent career to consider.  Nursing is a growing field.  One great benefit of this field is that it allows you to earn while you learn.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

To become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), most programs are only 18 months long.  These degrees can be obtained at vocational school or community college.  In most states, after a nursing student finishes the Intro to Nursing or Nursing 101 class, they can sit for their states Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) License.  This allows a nursing student to work as a CNA while they are still in nursing school.  Working as CNA will allow you to earn a wage that is higher than what other unskilled jobs pay.  It also allows you to gain experience and develop your bedside manner as a care giver.

Once you become a LPN, there are many job opportunities.  Many hospitals don’t hire LPNs anymore. Never the less, there are many job opportunities in home health care, long term care, school districts, and in primary care offices.  The average wage for a LPN is more than $22 per hour.

REGISTERED NURSE (RN)

While you are working as a LPN, it is a smart career move to become a Registered Nurse.  To become a RN, only an Associate’s Degree is required.  This degree can be earned at most community or Junior Colleges. Becoming a RN will give you the opportunity to work in a hospital.  There are a vast amount of different nursing positions including ICU, Med-Surge, ER, and Pediatrics.  The average wage for a RN is almost $32 per hour.

BACHELORS OF SKILLED NURSING (BSN)

If you are interested in a Bachelors Degree in Nursing (BSN), most hospitals will provide tuition reimbursement or assistance towards the degree.  Earning a BSN allows a nurse to advance into a specialist or management position.  With a BSN, a nurse can work as a Facility Educator, Case Manager, or become an Administrator. The average salary for those positions range from $72K to well over $100K.

MASTERS OF SKILLED NURSING (MSN)

There are also advanced degrees in nursing.  A nurse can go to graduate school for a Masters in Skilled Nursing (MSN) or even a Ph.D. program.  An advanced degree gives a nurse the credentials to teach at a university.  An advanced degree is also required to become a Nurse Anesthetist or a Nurse Practitioner.  Both of those positions have an average annual salary of over $104K.

CAREER OPTIONS

Another benefit of becoming a nurse is the stability and variety of career options that it offers.  Due to the aging Baby Boomer population, the demand for nurses is more than almost any other profession.  The demand is projected to grow by 16% annually up to 2024.  Also, if you are not interested in working in a hospital setting, you can work for a law office auditing files, the government conducting surveys of facilities, in health care marketing, or in the insurance industry.

It does, however, take a special person to become a nurse.  A person must have compassion for others. There is little room for error, so one must provide excellent care.  Also, you must be reliable because patients are counting on you.  If you feel that you meet those qualifications, consider becoming a nurse.  It is rewarding on many levels.