Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What motivates you?

Tonight on the way home I was listening to NPR and there was a story about workplace motivation and such. The gist of it was that though there are companies like Google who serve gourmet meals, and another place that eludes me right now that has Nerf fights, the perks of work are nice, but don't really satisfy or motivate workers. What motivates employees, apparently, is progress.

(Image from here via Pinterest)

That got me thinking that if this is indeed true then education must be way up there on someone's list of super-cool-jobs-people-want-to-have. Bear with me here... Ignoring the low salaries, the mounds of papers to grade, the incessant scrutiny and dissatisfaction of the public and the constant funding cuts/class size increases, etc. that make the job complain-worthy, the career itself does actually lend itself to very visible progress and success. Each and every day I see students who have the aha moment or understand a concept they didn't get before. On a daily basis (or at least weekly...) I get to see that what I am doing makes a difference. I can't begin to explain to you how motivating and satisfying that is.

That line of thought got me thinking about personal motivation. For the past 12 years I have devoted my life to being a teacher. I have always been the sucker with "yes" written on her forehead. "Amy, want to advise the newspaper, and yearbook and teach multiple preps?" "Uh, duh. YES!" "Ms. W., will you write me a letter of recommendation today since I've procrastinated on my college applications and I need it mailed today?" "Sure thing." "We're having an open house/ parents night/ freshman orientation/ whatever time consuming event you can think of. Can you be present?" "Of course."

Never have I minded. It matters to the kids. Therefore, it matters to me. My personal motivation was tied up within my professional motivation and I was quite content.

(Image from here via Pinterest)

Now, all a sudden that personal motivation I got from devoting my life to my career is in flux. Now that I am expecting a child, I can't see myself doing what I've done for the past 12 years. I can't see myself staying after school until I'm not needed there any more. My motivation now comes from family.

It is a true paradigm shift and I'm just now wrapping my head around it. I know that I love my job, but there is more out there for me in the near future. I suppose my perspective on what is important will continue to shift as I get older. For now, I am going to trust my (pregnant) gut and follow what motivates me.

What motivates you, dear readers?

1 comment:

  1. You will still love your job. Some days, you'll love it just because it makes you leave your house! :) But you'll learn to love it within contract hours. And for (probably) the first time in your life, you'll have absolutely NO guilt about leaving right at 2:35 (or whatever time your day will end next year). Because the being that REALLY needs you will be home waiting for you.


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