Plants First, Fish Next

The original intent of this journal was to chronicle the trials and tribulations of the struggling twenty-something, as I searched for love and happiness in the small city-burb of ManchVegas, NH. Now, I'm thirty-something, I've found love in many forms, happiness in even more, and now the struggle is just... well... life. And finding time to do the million and one things I want to do- including writing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010



Lately (ok, for a while now), I haven't really had any investment in my job.  While the paycheck and the hours are good, I'm not putting a lot into it because I don't feel like I get rewarded for working hard.  So I spend my time hardly working, or doing the minimal, then get frustrated when deadlines appear out of nowhere and I have a million things to do on a Friday.

This weekend I was visiting my cousins at my aunt's house and one of them (who successfully operates a local outlet of a national insurance company) asked me about my job.  I don't like to talk about my job because I don't enjoy it and I don't want to sound like a complainer.  So I said something like, "Eh, it's a job."  She's not one to be put off, however, and pressed for further information.  The more I got into it, the more she pointed to what I could do to change what I didn't like.

What?  It's not MY fault that I don't get merit-based raises.  That I do the work of 2-3 people.  They'd NEVER hire another person to take responsibilities.  Despite my negative attitude, she carried on, suggesting methods I could use to prioritize my work and prove that other functions of my job are wasteful.  Her point, which I finally came around to (god I'm stubborn about advice) was that even if nothing changed, I would learn skills necessary for position advancement here or elsewhere, and if I did decide to leave after all that, I could explain in detail the work that I did to improve the operation.  I would leave with a legitimate reason.  If I left now, the best I could say is that it's too much work- not the makings of a great candidate for anything, really.

I hate to admit when I'm wrong, especially when it means that I was ALSO lazy and irresponsible... but I'm wrong.  I've been using childish excuses to hate my job.  Spending 9 hours a day shirking responsibility isn't really the best use of my time.  I may never LOVE my job, and that's ok, but that doesn't mean I can't spend the work day growing as a person.  It's better than spending 9 hours a day surfing the internet and complaining.  That's what half the people do here, and I detest them for it.  I don't want to be that.

So, if it's all about goals and expectations, what are those for me?  My long-term goal is to make a case for this position to advance to the level of "Director" instead of "Coordinator."  This would allow for a salary increase based on pay scale and the elevation in title would translate better when looking for other jobs.  It would also make a case for having another position, even if it's part time, in the department.  My short-term goal is to accomplish my work within deadlines.  This is more of an attitude adjustment- to actually DO work rather than put it off.

My expectations are to get out of this job what I put into it.  Minimal effort will equal minimal satisfaction.  I already know I'm not motivated on a day-to-day basis by a paycheck (though I am motivated to do a minimal amount to keep GETTING a paycheck).  I know when I have a good day and accomplish a lot I do feel a sense of satisfaction and ::gasp:: fulfillment.  I can't expect a merit-based raise, a bonus, or other financial reward.  With my current management, even a pat on the back is rare.

The key to all of this is motivation.  What's going to motivate me at the end (or the beginning, or the middle) of the day to do work that I don't really find enjoyable?  Being able to cross a task off a list?  eh.  I'm not a big "list maker;"  I'll make a list and then never look at it.  A vague sense of satisfaction?  That'll last maybe a day.  Knowing that, long term, I'm doing the right thing?  Ha!  Have you MET me??  So, this is what I'm missing.  What will KEEP me motivated?  By nature I'm lazy (even though I hate that about myself, I know it to be true).  My work ethic is sub-par, and I hate feeling like someone else is telling me I have to do things.  Because, you know, I'm 10.

Trying to keep my goals and expectations in mind will help.  But other than that, I'm not sure how to stay motivated.  I know I don't want to use food or purchases as reward (since being fat and poor also won't make me happy).  How do you stay motivated at work, or doing tasks you hate?  If you're a "worker," what is it about completing the task that makes you feel so good?

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  • At 10:21 AM , Blogger Heather said...

    Oh my god, you're me.

    When you get the answer to these questions, please share.

  • At 3:34 PM , Blogger Mop said...

    In previous jobs, I was motivated by a sense of accomplishment. being able to pint at something at the end of the day and saying "I did that" was always very satisfying to me. In my current position, all I can point at is how much more my teeth have been ground down and the dents in my desk from slamming my head against it. So... I can't really help...


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