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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


What motivates you in an absence of passion?

What demotivates you?

I'm not ready to talk about what I do for a living now, but I'll say that despite my best efforts, I am still in academia. I'm not in a position that is in my field, for which I have any passion, nor that I think will lead to anything that arouses any kind of passion in me. It is a job ... not my life's work. And that makes me very sad.

Thus, it is hard to connect to it, to find a way to embrace it, and to "make it work" (to quote Tim Gunn). I take pride in being a hard worker and throwing myself into things, and it's hard to find a way to have a relationship to this job that encourages that.

In the absence of work that arouses passion in me, I tend to find myself motivated by relationships. This has always been the case ... I don't care about the work or the greater good of the work, but I do care about the people, or a person, and doing everything I can to please them.

This is a vulnerable place when those relationships falter (and when you work with people who have big tempers, that happens a lot), but it's what I do.

I don't tend to be motivated by money - but I do like money because I have been poor for so long, and I want to be comfortable and not have to worry about how to pay my bills, and whether or not I can afford my new favorite starbucks drink (soy chai with cinnamon dolce syrup in it - yummy!!!). And all those years of being poor have caused me to have to keep using things that have broken down, and I need/want to replace them. And, I want to go to China.

Last week on my job I was offered a sort of downward move position-wise, but with a pay raise. We lost an employee, and filling that position has been hellish. The big head honcho guy asked me to take the position, and offered me an $8000 year raise.

The head honcho guy tried wooing me like crazy, but I turned him down for a variety of reasons. At that same time, he promised me a raise as I think he'd been unaware of how little I make, and I had become aware of the salary of a new employee - in the same job title as me (working in a different area), but $5k more a year than me, and I also learned that his second choice for the position for which he was trying to woo me was offered $8k more than I was - that's $16k more than I make now!!!

I also know that someone who does far less work than I, but has a better title, an office, and similar job duties to me makes more than twice what I make. It's clear some people are just so much better at negotiating and at understanding or conveying or inflating their worth.

When I pointed this out to him, he kept saying, "You're not motivated by money, are you?" as though that is a horrible thing (for the record, I make less than $40k a year, and he makes - I think - more than 500k - maybe a mill a year? I've been told, but I can't recall).

As I noted, I'm not motivated by money - but boy howdy, am I ever demotivated by pay differentials!

Right now, I feel pretty crappy about the whole thing - and feel as though all the work I do (and I work damned hard) and all the care and thought and attention I pay (a hell of a lot) are worthless.

Yet, at the same time, I know that my skills are far harder to obtain than are those who are getting these higher paying jobs. I do a weird collection of jobs in my position - and my friends have noted you almost need a PhD to do what I do (or perhaps better yet - an almost PhD)(here's a hint on one task - those dossiers some of you are freaking out about? I make them for our faculty, and I'm damned good at it). Yet, I'm worth less than someone who has been a secretary for 10 years?

And so today, I found myself challenged to find a way to work. I felt demotivated, disengaged, and down. I have to find a way to reconnect and motivate in '08 (why is that not an ad slogan??? motivate in '08!)!

As always, empathy and support are welcome - but I'm not seeking help or advice, I'm just talking.

(note: The raise I was promised likely won't happen because it wasn't offered in front of my supervisor (had it been, she would have made it happen), and because some other things happened in the meantime that I think made obsolete that offer (can't go into specifics). ).



At 10:41 PM, Blogger Lucy said...

There's a difference between being motivated by money and wanting to be valued enough as an employee to be paid what your skills are worth. You're not a volunteer! That really sucks. I'm sorry.

Aside from that, I'm glad you're back blogging. I missed you.

At 11:00 PM, Blogger BrightStar said...

wait... you make the dossiers? I have no help with that. I am jealous of the people that get help.

Also, you want to go to China? You're probably going to visit pandas?

What motivates me in absence of passion is sense of threat that I will lose my job if I don't do certain tasks (publish enough)... what demotivates me is fear of failure.

At 1:50 AM, Blogger saxifraga said...

I would be furious if I found out about pay differences of that size within our department/group. I am motivated by being payed a proper salary and would also be motivated by a pay raise, but I won't say I'm generally motivated only by money. Like you say it's nice not to be poor anymore.

I'm having a hard time at my own job right now and thinking about how to get passion back into what I do or at least find the bright spots in otherwise dull days at work. What motivates me is that going to work brings food on the table, social relationships with colleagues, being part of a group/ community and the possibilities to move up and beyond what I do now.

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Crawlspace said...

I have a perpetual lack of motivation to do most anything really. I've come to the conclusion I would be better suited in life to being a hobo or just a really lazy rich person. But alas, that is not the case.

Perhaps, it is the desire to eat that keeps me going. I do love food.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Kate said...

So glad you're back! This sentence struck me: "As I noted, I'm not motivated by money - but boy howdy, am I ever demotivated by pay differentials!"

I think this is important. It's less important, to me, that I'm making some particular pay bracket or advancing my way up the classes, but it is important to know how I am faring relative to others. Provided I'm about the same as the others, and provided there are no racial or gendered inequitities, I'm fine.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger The History Enthusiast said...

My mom struggled with a similar pay differential situation at her old job, and I know how badly that hurt her feelings. I'm sorry things suck right now...hang in there!

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Clio Bluestocking said...

What a way to run an office! I totally get the not being motivated by money but getting very de-motivated by pay differences. It all goes to your relative worth to your workplace in relation to others' worth. That is really shitty.

Seriously, I was worried you had been hurt or depression had taken its toll or something worse.


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