Posted by: musingsofthemund | August 6, 2014

Motivation: Why Did I Start What I am Doing?

I read an interesting blog entry by Shawn Smucker today. He posed this question at end, “Why did you start what you are doing?” Thinking about the motivations in my life that have propelled me to where I am has really gotten the wheels in my head turning. I don’t usually comment on blogs but this one compelled me to break out of the silent creeping I usually do in the blogosphere and comment. But the more I thought, the more I wanted to say and I didn’t necessarily want to be the guy that writes a novel in the comments. So instead, you get to read a more broad scope of my thoughts here.

For a long time now, I’ve struggled with my job situation. Really, all things considered, it’s a pretty decent job. The wages aren’t terrible and the benefits are pretty good. The work isn’t all that terribly difficult. And yet, I’ve lived in a great deal of frustration. I’m not happy. I think I try to make excuses for that unhappiness. One of my biggest excuses/complaints is that I feel like I have no career mobility here, no way of moving up, no way of getting to a promotion. Of course the other side of that coin is that I bear some responsibility based on some past actions and a lack of ambition and motivation to gain skills to help me move forward. More importantly though, I think these frustrations serve to mask the true issue, which can be revealed by asking myself, “Would I be happier in this job if I were promoted?” The answer to that question is no, not really.

So I sit here pondering Shawn’s question. Why did I start what I am doing? The truth is, I took the job I have now because it was a job. It was an opportunity when I didn’t know what else to do. I graduated with a degree in theatre. I learned valuable skills in that, but it’s not exactly the kind of degree that’s going to open a ton doors for you. Especially when you’re an introvert like me. (Side note: I’ve always found it amusing how much people instantly assume about you when they find out your degree is in theatre. ‘Oh, you do theatre, you must be an outgoing extroverted powerhouse!’ Nope, not so much…) I had one job prospect that I’d gotten through a whole 3-interview process for and didn’t get it, I tried a stint at Aflac where I had a mini-nervous breakdown because it was glorified cold calling and door-to-door sales, I even tried an internship at church that I didn’t really feel I did a super good job with. But then, the company my father worked at had just been acquired by another company and they were looking for a front desk person. My father asked if I was interested, and, seeing as how I had no other real prospects at the time, I said yes.

I think scenarios like this are sometimes a sort of happy accident where you find yourself in a situation that you didn’t expect, but that turn out to be a dream come true. And there have been many blessings in my life because of this job for sure. I get to work with my dad and have an enhanced relationship with him as a result. I was able to pay for a large portion of my wedding and honeymoon largely because of bonuses I received. This job has been good to me.

Much of the time, though, I think it’s quite the opposite of the happy accident. You go in without a strong motivation and let the current carry you and see where it goes. Your motivation isn’t what’s carrying you forward, it’s simply the forward momentum of the current. That’s where I seem to be finding myself today.

The funny thing is growing up, I was afraid of ending up in a dead-end job, chained to a desk all day. Yet, here I am in exactly that position. And it’s very difficult to motivate myself to try to change things because I honestly don’t know what I should do instead. I worry that there isn’t a job out there that would fulfill me or make me happy at least some of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive enough to think there would be a perfect job out there that would offer total happiness and fulfillment. I’m pretty sure every job has its moments where you want to strangle someone.

My thoughts end here for the moment, unresolved, because that mirrors the place I find myself right now. Stay tuned, there may be an update later this week with more thoughts from me about motivation in general. We’ll see.


  1. I love you! You will find a better fit! God has a plan!

  2. Interesting thoughts and thanks for expounding. I hope you keep searching.

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