What motivates you?

14 June 2014

On a recent heart-to-heart with a good friend we shall call A, she confided in me that she is no longer happy with her job and that she is thinking of quitting and looking for another job. She actually tried to resign before but her old boss talked her out of it and encouraged her to move to another department instead if what she was after was a change of work environment. She did, and although she likes her new teammates in the new department now, she said she is still not happy, at least not as happy as when she was on her very first team. It's impossible to go back to that first team though, because almost everyone has left the company already, including myself. Being the bright-eyed idealistic and dream-chasing person that I am, I told her she should listen to her heart and do what she believes would make her happy. It's a little difficult though because she also has to be practical and think of her and her family's expenses.

On another conversation with a different friend we shall call M, she told me that A finds motivation from her peers at work, and if she doesn't feel the same level of support we showed her from before, she would always be dissatisfied. She cited my case as an example and said I quit my high-paying job to go after what I really wanted, because my motivation is not money but passion. I remembered my friend R who is driven not by money per se, but by having the means to treat his family with nice things every once in a while. For example, his Father's Day gift to his dad is a trip to Palawan for their whole family. As for me, I went back to living at my parents' house because I can't afford to live on my own like I did before, but I feel more fulfilled doing what I am doing now. I don't earn as much as other people with the same job description as I have, but I'm happy that I don't work in excess of eight hours (except when we have night events which happen very rarely) and that my boss doesn't make me work on weekends. I mean, sure, I can't stay this way forever and I'd have to look for a way to earn more money so I can save up for my future, but at the moment I am okay with the way things are (although as I wrote before, I am slowly developing an aversion to routine). I am not happy happy, but I am okay.

The other day, my officemates and I decided to exchange gifts just for the heck of it. We drew names, pointed out what we want from our chosen online shopping site, and ordered them for our "baby". This may be an ordinary sight in the office for some, but it would look comical when you find out there are only three of us. Yes, three girls being silly and wanting to be cheered up by an expected unexpected gift. When I recounted this to M, she said that is because we were taking pleasure wherever we can, and I realized that she was right.

We are all driven by different things. So I guess that is where it all boils down to: everybody wants to be happy but the only way we can achieve that is if we are able to pinpoint what motivates us and see that it is met. My three main reasons for going to work with enthusiasm right now are passion, friendships formed (not just with my officemates but also with my carpool-mates), and the opportunity to learn something new every day, but I honestly don't know until when it will stay that way. Everything changes, and although I am as sure as the sun rises that my main motivation will always be passion, I'm not sure until when I will be content with the way things are.

What about you, what motivates you?

"There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
- Nelson Mandela


  1. I have always avoided conversations and articles that deal with quitting and leaving your current job. To be honest, I'm on that stage when that question is bothering me everyday. I can relate with A because most of my friends already left and found better lives with another employer.

    The title of your article caught me. Although I didn't anticipate that the discussion was fitting to my current struggle. Parang "patama" or "i saw the sign" ang peg Haha

    Anyway, thank you for this article. A year from now, I hope to read this post again. I have to find out what really motivates me (apart from supporting my family) and hopefully find answers to the question that has been bothering me.

  2. Hi Diane, I know what you mean. Been there, done that and all that jazz - so I know how confusing these times are. Wishing you wisdom, clarity, and peace of mind. :)

  3. Had the same thoughts in recent years. Maybe the reason why I felt that way is because there seems to be an ideal measure of success (aka money) and I've always felt conflicted about it because I feel like I'm not good enough because I don't measure up. Or I don't seem to want to achieve what society thinks I 'should' be achieving. I don't have goals. I left the corporate ladder climbing. I'm happier now. As an officemate said, "pwede palang maging masaya" Some people think I'm being irresponsible but I'm ok not being filthy rich. SIguro, I'll keep my current job and study passive income or something to handle the financial security issue. Coz I can't go back to what I was doing before.

    Anyway, this vid by Jenna Marbles pretty much sums it up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h23oPnh1WJM


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