When I was studying at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, I took an Organizational Behavior class that was required for all undergraduate business students to take. It wasn’t taken seriously by many…it wasn’t a finance or accounting class that so many pre-investment bankers & consultants sought out. For me, I loved the class. Business is about people. Understanding people. Motivating people. Leading people. Inspiring people. Numbers are one thing, but without people there are no numbers.
For one of our reading assignments we were asked to read articles that evoked thoughts around the question “Why work?” & the following class involved discussion about that very topic. The class shared various reasons to work, ranging from helping people to making a ton of money. No one’s reasons are wrong. There are no right answers….everyone is different & as such the reasons people work vary.
Why do I work? In no particular order…
- to learn
- to be challenged
- to make the world a better place
- to contribute to something bigger than myself
- to inspire & be inspired
- to meet amazing people
- to create something meaningful
- to make money
I understand the need to make money to support my basic needs, but I also don’t consider that the only reason I work. If working was only about making money then my job choice would be much different than if working was about more than just money. If you think money is the primary reason you work, consider this: you could probably make the same amount of money working at Starbucks as a barista (or even better, Iorio’s Gelateria as a Gelatista), as you could working as a teacher in an urban setting. When money is the same, how do you choose where to work? There must be something else besides money that influences your decision. Or is there?
I would take a lower paying job if it meant that I was doing something that met the other reasons I work in a more significant way. Obviously there’s no formula to figure out the best place to work. It is entirely possible to “create a formula” by giving weights to factors that are important to you & then scoring each of those factors, but a number can’t replace what’s in your heart. It can supplement it, but life isn’t a formula. Work isn’t a formula. For much of my life I have analyzed the heck out of things like jobs, relationships, decisions…all the way down to what to make for dinner. There are somethings though that can’t entirely be decided on with numbers alone & I think working is one of them.
Why do you work? Write down the reasons you really work. The better you understand your reasons for working, the easier it becomes for you to recognize how you want to work, where you want to work, & what’s important to you.
mel, the venture gal