Not everyone is motivated by money. Many of us are – I am, to some extent, though it is by no means my primary motivator – but many of us also have supplementary or even stronger motivators besides our paycheck. Motivators can take all kinds of forms, and if we don’t take the time to figure out our unique combination is, we may end up unhappy without knowing why.
Why compels you to get out of bed each day? What’s your reward for working? Why do you work?
Popular motivators include:
Jot down some of the things that speak to you. They may be on this list, or they may be other things.
Also jot down the things that do not motivate you.
(For example, despite having a public blog, I am not very motivated by notions of fame. I’m also not motivated by power, security, or prestige. My biggest motivators are autonomy, competence, creating change, intellectual challenges and, lastly, money. I see money, however, as resource to use in seeking the first four.)
What about you?
Write them down. Revisit them often. Keep them fresh in your mind.
That way, you can identify career opportunities that are closely associated with them.
And avoid those that aren’t.
It may also answer questions that may otherwise be confusing, like why one job makes you unhappy but another doesn't. Some of my favorite jobs were the ones I made the least amount of money but a could exercise a bit of autonomy. In the one where I was rather miserable, I was tucked away in a windowless room, but making about five times as much.
Knowing what rewards motivate us helps us make better decisions about designing our lifestyles, and ensures that those lifestyle choices will be more satisfying in the long run.