Recently, CNNMoney.com interviewed Harvard business school professor Clayton Christensen, co-author of the book How Will You Measure Your Life?
Christensen has faced a myriad of health problems in recent years, suffering a heart attack and being diagnosed with cancer. Those experiences have led him to explore topics related to finding happiness in life just as much as achieving success in the world of business.
One part of his interview with CNNMoney.com was particularly striking, and that part involved the quest for career satisfaction. In fact, the question posed to him was as follows: “How should a person be measuring his or her career?”
Christensen’s answer: “You want to be in a job where you’re motivated.”
He went on to explain that there is a distinct difference between incentives and motivation, especially in regards to a person’s job and career.
Incentives refer mostly to external factors. These can include—but are not limited to—salary, benefits, or the feeling of job security. Motivation, on the other hand, refers to internal factors. These can include the desire to contribute or accomplish goals, the desire to feel successful, or the need to be part of something significant and make a difference.
The underlying importance of this distinction is two-fold.
First, incentives and motivation are not the same and should not be used interchangeably. Second, a person is usually much more satisfied with their job if they’re receiving motivation instead of just incentives.
What about you? Is your current job a matter of incentives . . . or motivation? If it’s the former and not the latter, would pursuing a new opportunity help to increase your level of career satisfaction?