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Why We Work

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Joe Van Tassel 12 Sep 2017

Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to be. I never had that vision – that focused idea of being an accountant or a firefighter. I coincidentally got a degree that was useful for recruiting, but that was chance. All I knew for sure was what I wanted to achieve through work. I knew there was an end game that I wanted – a life vision that work would allow me.

In the back of my mind was a foundation that my family built – working hard, never being entitled, and not taking what you have for granted.  Though I didn’t know what I “wanted to be when I grew up”, I knew that I wanted to replicate the upbringing I had. I wanted to be present for my kids while also being able to financially provide more than enough for them, and I wanted to wake up feeling happy and purposeful with my time spent away from that family unit.

Now that I have had my first kid, I am living much more into my purpose. I am fully feeling what I have worked for, why I started Integress, and why I work hard each day maximizing every opportunity.

As a technical headhunter I’m talking to either hiring managers or candidates for jobs all day every day. Often I find that I have conversations with people that have no idea about what makes them happy, or what they want out of their current job. They certainly don’t know what they want out of their next role, and frankly they don’t allow themselves to even think about it because they’ve been so focused on their current hustle. One of the most helpful tools I’ve encountered when I got too deep into having a short-term mindset, is joining a leadership group – more on that here.

There are two ends of the spectrum that come to mind when your hustle gets the best of you, as opposed to your “why”:

  1. There are the people who start out trying to land a job that pays the most and allows them to achieve a certain title. As they age and evolve, create families, and spend time working for something that’s not motivating, they start to feel unhappy and frustrated. As they grow and their family grows, the desire for working with meaning grows too, because they want to maximize time away from home.
  2. There are the people who have their nose to the grindstone, and work is their everything. Money drives them, and then on their deathbed their regret is that they didn’t experience life more, and they wish they worked less. This is actually one of the most common experiences people have in their final phase of life.

At the end of the day, time becomes more important than money, as you experience it slipping away without the ability to earn it back.

To get started on thinking about why you work as a technical headhunter, and what your deeper motivations are, here is a guide to the top nine reasons people are in their job. These “job currencies” are thanks to my leadership coach, Vance Caesar, who has walked me through this, and who has outlined these motivations. This list helped me identify why my own reasons for working are, and how to create a company and life that fulfills me.

The Top 9 Reasons Why People Work

1. Legacy: working to build something important for the long term, that improves the world.

2. Relationships with powerful people: working with people who can help us achieve a high level of influence and make a difference.

3. Relationships we enjoy: working with people we like, and having deep friendships.

4. Remuneration: working for money.

5. Fun: working somewhere that energizes you and is highly enjoyable.

6. Brand/reputation: working to advance your resume or power.

7. Learning and growing: working to become better and better at a skill, which gives you success.

8. Lifestyle: working to allow you to focus on something like family, faith, or adventure.

9. Survival: working to get by.

After reviewing these, think about which stand out to you and caught your eye. Many people have multiple motivations, and a little bit of all of them. Which top two or three really resonate and make you think, “yes, that’s it!”? Does your current job give you this? What would it look like if it did? Where would you be? What would your title be? And how would you feel?

Lastly, the one thing I can tell you: there is a job out there that will fit for you, based on why you work. That is a promise.

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