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Social Sci LibreTexts

6.1: Prelude to Motivations

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    A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning. - Pat Riley

    Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. - Raymond Chandler

    Brenden decided to go to college with one goal in mind: to get a job where he could make lots of money. His hope was that the job would allow him to live in a large house, drive a nice car, and take two nice vacations per year. Once he graduated, he accepted a sales job that afforded him these things.

    About two years into his job, he realized that while he was making a lot of money, he didn't really like his job. It required a lot of travel and working with unhappy clients. Brenden then decided to create a list of the most important things to him in a job. The first on the list was the fact he would feel good about his contributions to society. The second on the list was his ability to pay his bills with a little money left over to save. The third most important thing on the list was that he would be home during the week so he could spend more time with his family.

    The more Brenden looked at his "wish" list, he realized what he wanted wasn't lots of money, as he had thought. Other things, as he grew in his career, were far more important to him.

    Brenden's situation is common. Often, people think they are motivated by money, but when they step back, they realize that money is just one part of a person's overall satisfaction at work. For years, managers have tried to motivate people based on money, but research has shown this can only be effective to an extent. Other things, such as flexible schedules or more vacation time, can motivate people more than a pay raise. This is the topic of our chapter, human motivation and developing an understanding of what motivates you. Knowing what motivates you as you select a career path can help you be a successful, happy employee later on.

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