What motivates you?

I have a day job. It’s a basic office job.

When I first got this job, I was overjoyed because I’d been unemployed so long, and now I could start taking steps to support us again.

I hadn’t actually done an office job before. I’d been a technician for a long time.

But I figured I had general office skills, I might as well try to use them.


I am so glad that I told the Navy recruiter that I did not want to be a paper-pusher when I joined the military. I wasn’t crazy about being a tech, but being an office monkey is soooo much worse.

That said, though, I’ve learned a lot about myself in this position.

1. I’m not motivated by money. Seriously. Once I have a baseline salary, can make a budget, and keep a roof over my head and food on the table, more money does not motivate me.

I’m not going to work harder for a $10 bonus, or probably even a $100 bonus. This means that any sales career is probably out for me.

And I’m not the only one. There’s even been a study about this.

So what does motivate me? As far as I’ve been able to figure out, by analyzing my behavior at this job, Helping People.

I will bend over backwards if I think I’m giving someone the help they need to accomplish something or taking tasks off their back so that they can do something else.

I’m all about the Helping.

I want to Feel Useful, to make someones day easier, to impart some wisdom, to give someone what they need.

When I make an offer to my Boss to take on x task, it isn’t because I want more money or work. It’s because I can see she’s overwhelmed with her duties, and I ACHE to HELP. When she rejects that offer, I’m CRUSHED. When she’s cold or confrontational about rejecting it, I’m beyond crushed, I’m stunned.

Before this job, I never really knew this about myself.

2. I’m all about the NEW.

I’ve always known that I learn things quickly; I’ve used it on my resume as my biggest selling point.

But I never knew how much I’d resent continuing to repeat a task after I’d learned it.

As a tech, that was my life. There was always a new thing to learn, always a new task to accomplish, a new technology to learn, a new class to go to, new equipment, etc. Even in a production environment, I’d tune 10 widgets, and then have a set of whatsits to do, and whosits to learn. (Widgets, whatsis, whosits are all technical terms, obviously.)

In an office environment, you learn the new thing, and then keep repeating it, and keep repeating it. And keep repeating it. And then you become the Person Who Does That Thing, which means you have to KEEP REPEATING IT.

Oh, dear gods, kill me now!

Give me something NEW, please! Here, I can teach That Thing to someone else, let me learn SOMETHING NEW.

3. This one goes hand in hand with #2: I want to have something to do with training.

My second job, working at McD’s in the mall back home (which doesn’t even exist anymore) as a teenager, I made myself an expert in the arena of training. At almost every duty station in the Navy, I had something to do with training. I kept training records, I wrote training lectures, I trained the new people, I scheduled training, I taught CPR classes.

I love training.

All of which lead me to conclude that I really am cut out to be a Teacher. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m a archetypal Teacher/Mentor.

I want to learn new things and then convey what I’ve learned to others. I want to get people excited to learn something new. I want every day to have a different challenge.

I mean there’s comfort in routine. I like getting up at the same time every day and leaving the house at the same time every day, and going to bed at a similar time most nights, and such. But I want the tasks that I’m doing to change, and the people I’m interacting with to change, and I want to HELP people or at feel like I’m helping.

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