As part of my ongoing mentoring, I’ve been exploring my motivations around work and how I achieve a healthy work/life balance. It can be easy to take for granted what we have at work, or to become complacent when maybe you aren’t being stretched enough or are over exerting elements of your life. Having good friends across a range of different industries, from government, to healthcare to retail, I found myself reflecting on my personal motivations for work. Below is my top 10 list – shared for your curiosity. Have a read, and feel free to share your own perspectives and top motivations via the comments.
[ TL;DR: read the bold bits and skip to the end. 😉 ]
- A vocation.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” -Marc Anthony
Work I love and subject matter I’m passionate about means I don’t see work as separate to home life, it just becomes an extension. I enjoy working for an aspirational brand that I’m proud to tell people I work for. I need to buy into their vision and relate to their values. I’ve found my niche in life since working on tangible end user and digital products. These are products that are used by a mass audience, people see and interact with, and that my user experience strengths mean I can make a noticeable different to the lives of others.
- Autonomy – I like to be empowered to deliver, and to inspire those around me to up their game and to work out loud in a collaborative working environment. I’m not a fan of hierarchical companies where decisions can only be made at the top.
- Commute – It feels like this should be higher. Having moved to Limehouse I’ve been lucky to never have a commute longer than 25 minutes. I say luck, but it is by design. I like to use my spare time for me, and not for commuting on overcrowded public transport. I wouldn’t enjoy a role with lots of daily commuting within the UK. That said I’m excited about the idea of more short term European/international travel as part of a role. Call me a princess if you like, but for me, a role is a show stopper if the regular commute is over 40 minutes.
- Work life balance should encourage flexible working times/location for reasonable asks that don’t disrupt delivery of myself or others.
- Talented, collaborative people to work with whom are bright and motivated. Working in diverse teams where people complement each other’s core skills and have a desire to learn.
- Accessible gyms with good Les Mills classes. Since building fitness into my week I’ve been much more relaxed in life. I’ve done Body Combat and Body Pump classes for 16 years now (you do the maths) and find it a great way to relax and keep a healthy mind and body. Job working hours should be flexible for me to attend 2-3 nearby classes a week.
- Financial reward – To be only number 7 may surprise some. But for me no amount of money will overcome the above values. I don’t want to sell out and burn out just for work – life is too short. Clearly there is a minimum number I need to support my daily living, but beyond this it’s a bonus.
- Dress according to my diary. I perform best when I feel smart but comfortable. Ideally smart casual attire is jeans/chinos and a tee or business shirt with smart shoes. Wearing a tie I get neck irritation – so prefer to keep the suit for special occasions.
- Ability to choose my own vacation and good benefits package (including number of vacation days). This may sound silly, but it is a luxury my doctor and nurse friends don’t get.
- Support as a Diversity & Inclusion champion. My contributions to my organisations Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) agenda have not only been good for the business, but have helped inspire and give back to others and I believe have accelerated my career. Any company I work for should recognise the value of promoting D&I activities. Any role that doesn’t have an open and inclusive environment (ideally with diverse role models) is an immediate no. Number 10 on the list and another show stopper? Unfortunately I have many friends who feel uncomfortable sharing personal aspects of their lives with colleagues. If I can’t bring my best self to work without worrying or hiding then I don’t get the most out of myself – nor does the business. Ultimately its the companies loss.
So there’s my starter for 10. I remember an estate agent saying to me I should think of 5 things I want in a house I buy. If I see 2 apparently I should consider it, and if I see 3 consider I should put an offer in. Well I had 5 things on my house purchase list, and I wouldn’t settle for anything less than 4.5. 4 years later I got my 5 out of 5 home.
As I reflect on my current role I feel fortunate that I’ve moulded a role that ticks all 10. Sure some of them could always have improvement – but it is a great foundation for a happy and healthy mind.
How about yourself? Do any of these motivations resonate, or would you have a totally different list? I’m curious to read how different personal experiences and intersectionality ar