For a couple of months I have difficulties to get up and going to work. Then when I am at work, any little thing distract me (cell, news, etc.). I have to constantly switch between task to not get bored. And some details sometimes skip my revision. I reached the conclusion: I am demotivated.
A year ago, when I started this job I remember that I was full of energy, learning, giving new ideas and running the extra mile. What happened since then? Many things. Nevertheless after I thought of all the things that could killed my motivation, I arrived to a peculiar conclusion: the ultimate motivational killer is not pursuing the purpose nor doing the tasks that I like the most.
Motivation is a strange creature. There so many theories that try to explain and break it down. From rational evaluations of expectations and rewards, to unconscious drives which determine behavior. The purpose of this post, is not to summarize the theories of motivation, which would take thousands of pages. My intention is just to bring what personally destroys my motivation, and how I can work on it.
First I will list my external killers. For these, the causes could be very varied, from the leadership to the nature of the job.
- Meaningless tasks. In a less dramatic way, sometimes I felt like Sisyphus. He was condemned to climb up the rock to the top of the hill and then push it back to the bottom, a non-sense task. I remembered doing projects which I knew never going to see the light, or working analyzing data and making reports that nobody will see, except for my boss. The lack of purpose is one of the most terrible motivational killers.
- Mechanical endlessly tasks. In “Space Office” the main character has a job to change all numbers that has two digit format (e.g. “01”) to four digit format, because the year 2000 will come and a complete deletion of the information will occur. Believe me doing this solely thing will kill your motivation in a week. Some tasks are “daunting” and involve a lot of boring repetition. When I encounter these, I wonder how can I do this in a more efficient, creative, and entertaining way? Believe me, you will find more fun and be more effective this way.
- Contradictions. Some people never bother about this, but for me is a real boomer. For example, as an HR you create an entire system to measure performance, which is supposed to increase fairness and meritocracy in the organization. Imagine that after implementing it, you realized that some managers are just using the tool to justify the termination of employees previously identified, in a very subjective way. As HR we should do something when we encountered these situations, because one of our roles is also advocacy for the employees.
- Obstacles. Sometimes they can feed your motivation, but when they are too many, it is overwhelming. And the frustration could be higher when you see the obstacles could be avoidable.
- Lack of Support. When you have a manager who is not watching your back that really is a boomer. You waste a lot of your time trying to navigate the office politics instead of focus on your job.
- Ultimate motivation killer: yourself. Quitting the search for things that you love or just stop doing the things you like, are the most dangerous and effective motivation killer.This is like surrendering yourself to the external factors. I believe that is the most effective motivational killer of all. If you are in that place, ask yourself, when I started this career, what I was looking for ? what were my inner drives? You will need to recover those purposes to rebuild your motivation.