Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

7 Are there any limits?

Image of a sign saying 'The Limit'.
Figure 10 What are the limits?

For everyone, there is a range of personal factors that may affect career choice. These could include:

  • needing to earn a certain amount of money
  • your health
  • your age
  • being the main carer for other family members
  • the need to live in a particular area
  • wanting to gain a qualification quickly or needing to acquire a qualification that is professionally recognised in a field of work, e.g. nursing, plumbing or accountancy.

Take a few moments to look at Angela’s example below.

Table 5 Angela's needs, responsibilities and constraints
What are my needs, responsibilities and constraints?What are the implications and what can I do about them?
What are my needs?

Financial independence

Opportunities to be creative

Working to live


Will be limited by what work is available locally that I have the skills for

Could do extra training through work or adult education courses

What are my responsibilities?

Looking after parents

Paying off mortgage


Want to find best way to manage my finances

Speak to an independent financial adviser about my options

What constraints are there?

Want to remain in local area

To earn enough to cover debts

Angela has used the implications column to focus on actions she can take. This is important, otherwise it is easy to feel hemmed in and frustrated. Bear this in mind in the next activity as you write your own needs, responsibilities and constraints table.

Activity 8 My needs, responsibilities and constraints

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

This activity will help you to evaluate what you need, what you have to do and what you cannot easily do in your life at the moment. It will encourage you to think about the implications of this and to see ways forward.

Now complete your own table of needs, responsibilities and constraints. You can complete a blank copy of Table 5 in your Resource pack [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


It may not feel as energising to consider potential obstacles as it did to get excited by your interests, but you need a balanced assessment of your situation. By focusing on the implications of your needs, responsibilities and constraints, and deciding what action you could take, you may have been able to spot opportunities that were less visible to you before.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371