How To Find Work That You Love

Paul FennerPersonal Finance

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One of the topics that I discussed in a presentation that I gave on 401(k) & 403(b) rollovers is that you have multiple options.  However, before you decide what option may be best for you, I encourage people to sit down and answer the following three questions:

  1. What worries you about your financial future?
  2. How do you envision your life?
  3. What are your dreams?

This can be a very eye-opening experience for people who sit down and tackles these questions for the first time in their lives.  This is an essential part of knowing what you want to structure a plan around how to achieve your goals.

In this Fast Company piece, Clayton Christensen discusses how to find work you love.  Finding what you like to do directly correlates with how you envision your life and what you would like to do with it.

Christensen points out “that although you can pay people to want what you want, incentives are not the same as motivation. True motivation is getting people to do something because they want to do it, in good times and in bad.”

Christensen goes on to note the following:

  • Frederick Herzberg, probably one of the most incisive writers on the topics of motivation, published a breakthrough article in the Harvard Business Review focusing on exactly this. Herzberg noted the common assumption that job satisfaction is one big continuous spectrum–starting with very happy on one end and reaching all the way down to absolutely miserable on the other–is not actually the way our minds work. Instead, satisfaction and dissatisfaction are separate, independent measures.
  • This thinking on motivation distinguishes between two different types of factors: hygiene factors and motivation factors. On one side of the equation, there are the elements of work that, if not done right, will cause us to be dissatisfied. These are the hygiene factors: status, compensation, job security, work conditions, company policies, and supervisory practices. For example, it matters that you don’t have a manager who manipulates you for his own purposes–or who doesn’t hold you accountable for things over which you don’t have responsibility. Bad hygiene causes dissatisfaction.
  • The point isn’t that money is the root cause of professional unhappiness. It’s not. The problems start occurring when it becomes the priority over all else when you’ve satisfied the hygiene factors, but the quest remains only to make more money. Herzberg’s theory of motivation suggests you need to ask yourself a different set of questions: Is this work meaningful to me? Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement? Am I going to learn new things?
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