Having seen a large number of people moving or wanting to move from one job or company to the other, there is one question in my mind: Are people looking for work for better pay and upward mobility, or do people look for work with a nagging but unclear desire to self-actualize? What is perplexing is looking for something at work that you can’t put your finger on, thinking that you need better pay or better work environment, only to find out when you get there that they don’t make you happy in the end.
We have to differentiate between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivators are aspects of the work, what the company provides that satisfy your needs to make a decent or satisfactory living. It may be the pay and benefits, the work condition, the culture of the company, or even the prestige that goes with all of the aforementioned. However, for you to feel fulfilled and get that extra mileage to be really happy with the work that you do, intrinsic motivators have to kick in at some point. What do you become in the course of fulfilling your work responsibilities? How do you feel each day you go to work and after when your day is done? Are you excited with how you see yourself in the future doing what you do now?
“While the positive Intrinsic reasons to change jobs, like better career growth and doing more satisfying work, are often discussed during the hiring process, it’s typically done at a superficial level or filled with hyperbole. This becomes a problem when the actual job, culture, and hiring manager’s style don’t align with these expectations. Then underperformance and dissatisfaction become rampant, and the process begins anew.” (Lou Adler, 2014)
In the same way that employers attract and hire for the wrong reason, applicants accept jobs for the wrong reason as well. You accept a job for the extrinsic motivators and then leave for lack of intrinsic motivators. How do you turn around this vicious cycle?
In my experience as a Career Strategist, people who come to me for help are unhappy and dissatisfied with where they are, but have no idea what they’re looking for. When they clarify their values and purpose, they are able to identify specific criteria for work that they are looking to find. This clarity gives them immense energy to move forward and create both long-term and short-term plans.
On the other hand, hiring managers are responsible for providing not only a realistic view of a job but finding out the long-term career goal of new hires to see if there is an alignment of values between them and the company. It would serve the company well not only to achieve its business goals but also to bring along its employees to fulfillment and self-actualization.