There is an interesting interview with Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, on January 4, 2009 with Neal Conan of Talk of the Nation. What stands out in this interview is Mr. Pink’s theory that raises do not motivate people. We live in a culture where people work hard for raises and expect them often, but there is a lot of research that backs up the idea that raises only work for a short time. What Mr. Pink does is go further to say that when people have the freedom to work on their own and pursue projects unrelated to their day-to-day jobs, they will be more motivated, be more creative, and work harder.

Here at iMoneyCoach, we have a Financial Constitution in which we list fundamental principles that we should all follow for the various segments of our lives. One of these segments is our work life. And some of these principles include:

  • Always be productive working in an area of your expertise
  • Spend some of your resources and efforts “reaching for your dreams”
  • Create more value for your employer than what you are being paid
  • Pursue your work with a long-term perspective

So how do we reconcile the research about raises with staying motivated and doing a good job in the workplace? You may not be able to change your employer, but you could ask for a little more freedom or ask to be involved in a creative project. Remember why you are working there. What about your career first interested you, and how are you making an impact? If you don’t believe in your company’s goals or don’t feel that you are creating value, it may be time to evaluate whether it is time to move to a new job. As you work and keep in mind the principles listed above, you will find that you have more balance in your life and are happier with your accomplishments. This may impact your finances too – if you feel fulfilled in your work, then maybe you won’t have to go on shopping binges to make yourself feel better, and you’ll end up with a little extra in the bank! We believe that people can get to a place where they can honestly say, “I love my life!” And part of that is evaluating your goals and what motivates you so that you can adjust and balance your life accordingly.

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