I intend for this to be a fairly short post because I am much more interested in the answer to the question. And I hope you will post in the comments below.
I have been thinking a lot about motivation lately. At a certain point what motivates us? What is the point to certain things after a while? Why do we continue to do the things we do even if we have accomplished certain items? For example, I have reached, in some respects, the highest rank I can in my profession. There is nowhere else to go except to become an administrator, which is something I don’t want to do at the moment. So I have been trying to figure out what motivates me at work, for example?
One thing that motivates me is the financial end of things. Even though I have been promoted to a Full Professor (the ranks are Assistant, Associate, and Full) I have a financial incentive at my job beyond tenure. Every six years we get evaluated and I can earn up to 6% of my salary if I continue to be productive publishing, being a good teacher, working with students, etc. Along with that I am wanting to increase my investing and debt payoff as fast I can. The more debt I pay off and the more I invest the less I figure I will have worry about it later down the road.
And I admit I am getting a bit burned out. For the past seven years I have taught the equivalent of 6 courses per semester. My normal teaching load is 4 courses per semester, but I teach 2 overloads for extra money and it is wearing on me because there are times when I have to take over other courses for a variety of reasons including this semester. I am getting a bit burned out and I look forward to the day when just my salary is enough for me to do invest and pay off debt at a clip that I am currently doing. So financially I am motivated, but it is toward a larger goal of hopefully not having to work as hard.
Another goal is that I generally like what I do. I enjoy being a college professor. I enjoy the life of the mind. I enjoy the research. I enjoy the recognition for the research and feeling like I am contributing to humanity.. I also love teaching. I mean I don’t like the grading and meetings, but who does. No matter what I hope I will be “teaching” in some capacity whether that is what I currently teach or maybe even financial topics in the future. I am thinking about getting into coaching again, just in a different way.
Finally, I don’t think I am done yet. In some respects, I feel like I am just getting started. There are still lots of things I want to accomplish. I want to write another academic book on my own. I want to continue to take students abroad. I want to help build an academic program. I want to maybe get into financial coaching or maybe political consulting (yes I know disparate topics). And I figure if we are going to start a family (hopefully soon) then having a flexible position like I have is good to have.
So that is what gets me out of bed in the morning for work?
What say you? What gets you out of bed in the morning? And it doesn’t have to be work related or money? Is it kids? New adventures? Leave your answers in the comments below.