What Motivates You?

What gets you out of bed and into your workplace every day? Do you feel stimulated or challenged by your job? Are you in a field that you’re passionate about, and that passion means more than your salary? Do you feel that you’re making a difference to your customers, members, or clients?

Boredom and not feeling challenged by job duties is a popular gripe among employees, but very few of us have the option of leaving to find something more stimulating or that would be a better use of our skills. Every job – no matter how unconventional it may be – has its own patterns and routines, whether it’s certain follow-up procedures for particular duties or other day-to-day tasks that must be done. Without new problems to solve or challenges to rise to, it’s very easy to have this routine turn into more of a rut.

So what motivates you? What keeps you showing up fresh every day?

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Sara Hodon is a freelance writer, nonprofit program manager, and English instructor based in Northeast Pennsylvania.


  1. Jeff on the 19th July

    They continue to pay me to show up, when they stop paying me, I’ll stop coming. I have become so bored with my job the paycheck is all that motivates me anymore.

  2. Thomas S. Nielsen on the 19th July

    My dayjob I get through by getting compliments from my users (IT admin), and by looking forward to doing freelancing and working my way up the social networking ladder afterwards. Looking forward to the day I can work fulltime as a freelancer.

    • Bret Juliano on the 20th July

      I would have to agree with you. Looking forward to the day I can work fulltime as a freelancer is my biggest motivation for the job I currently have and the jobs I will continue to have until I reach that goal.

  3. Tom on the 19th July

    I used to be motivated by money. That worked for a while, but as work became more and more frustrating I realized that I was spending a lot of the money I made to compensate for that frustration.

    What motivates me now is being able to work on my ideas and give my creativity an outlet. I like creating stuff, be it digital or stuff you can touch. I enjoy being able to decide on my own what I will spend my time on. No-one’s master, no-one’s slave, I suppose 😉

    Sure, bills have to be paid. But it makes no sense to trade in your time just to spend the money you get in exchange on stuff you wouldn’t even think about getting if you were happy with your work.

  4. Rochelle Dancel on the 19th July

    I’m probably in the minority here but I have a great team – we laugh all the time – and our department head has encouraged us to develop work plans that further our goals, so long as they are in line with the overall business strategy, which really isn’t that hard to do. All of us have been head hunted by our competitors, but we’ve all stayed for the simple fact that we love our team, and where we’re going, just the way it is.

  5. Am on the 19th July

    Hmm, what Tom says up there… quite true about the “spending a lot of the money I made to compensate for that frustration” part! When I was holding down a job I didn’t like, I had the same tendencies too. Then you realise, if you continue to stay in that job, it’s just going to end up a vicious cycle. Yes, you earn more, but that money isn’t being saved because you feel empty and therefore desire spending more (soulless consumerism) to make up for that emptiness and lack of fulfillment.

  6. Rondal on the 19th July

    I hate to sound trite, but “the pursuit of happiness.”

    My end goal is to be able to facilitate a career that I enjoy full-time and in which everyday is less of a struggle and more of an adventure. I laugh at those who claim that “dream jobs” don’t exist… they just aren’t looking hard enough.

  7. Dominic Altier on the 20th July

    This may sound totally cheesy, but I’m motivated to be successful because I want my daughter to have a more comfortable and fun childhood than I had. That being said, what I love about my job and what keeps me going back each day is the challenge to be more creative than the day before. I come into the office everyday thinking “What am I going to create today?”. Another motivating factor is the loose environment I work in, I very rarely have to check my design with a superior and really only have to answer to our clients, you just don’t get that everywhere.

  8. Ana da Silva on the 22nd July

    The fact that I don’t work in an office motivates me to wake up and live forever! When I had a desk job I was in bad shape. Like Jeff above, I was going back for the paycheck. Now I’m struggling financially but I can’t say I’d change my freedom and sanity for that paycheck.

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