Better than Christmas Morning: Finding Your Motivation

This was originally posted on The Pastry Box on October 1. Unfortunately, for some reason it was not tweeted about, so I didn’t see that it had been published. Anyway, here it is re-published. Enjoy.

People frequently ask me whether I like or enjoy the work that I do.

In theory, I’m helping 10% of the population (though in reality, it’s probably a lot less). It’s not a huge percentage, but when you live in a country that has millions of people, does it matter?

In our personal lives, we spend much of our lives trying to make even just one person happy (usually our partner, or a family member). If you knew your work was making even just one person’s life better, making them happier, would you continue to do it?

Honestly, my work day-to-day can seem very disconnected from the users. It’s a lot of administration, organization/coordination, training/documentation, involving a lot of emails and other writing. I communicate with staff and other organizations, but (almost) never directly with the users themselves.

On occasion though, I get an email that tells a story. Every story I get is what keeps me motivated, keeps putting into perspective how important my work is to people.

It landed in our support email inbox, and while I don’t remember every word, I will never forget these few words. The simple revelation that our service existed to a young girl made her exclaim that it was:

better than Christmas morning.

Until I saw it, I never thought about how much of an impact my work might have on another person’s life, let alone that it actually affects a lot of people in a significant way.

Whenever I start getting the feeling that my work is pointless, I remember the stories, not just this one, but others as well.

If you haven’t found your motivation for your work, then maybe you just need to look. Find even just one story of how you’ve improved someone else’s life in a big or small way. Use it. Help yourself to keep going.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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