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How Do We Motivate People in Jobs That Are Purposeless?

The whole point of nature is evolution. The entire point of mankind is physical, mental, and spiritual evolution, which is achieved through creation/building. Life is about creation.

The chair you are sitting on is created, the applications on your phone, the phone or laptop you are reading this on are created (not talking about the production line), and the dinner you had last night is created. This is what keeps us moving forward. This is at the heart of motivation.

Now look at jobs around the world, and you can see that there is no creation in them. You go to work and work on your Excel sheet, presentation, emails, or system for eight hours. You answer calls and questions as a call centre operator or customer service agent. As a receptionist, you direct people, book appointments, and answer more questions. As a waitress, you serve people, as a corporate folk, you go from one meeting to another. There is no creation in most jobs therefore, there is no motivation. Most of these jobs would not be missed if they disappeared forever. In fact, most of these jobs can be automated, but we don't want to make millions of people jobless, but it is coming.

Those who create/build are motivated and driven. Or it could be the other way around. Those who are motivated and driven create.

The next step is necessity. There are jobs that don't create per se but are necessary, and if they disappeared, we would be in trouble. Garbage collectors, sewage system workers, utility services, emergency services, healthcare professionals, farmers, teachers, scientists, engineers, builders, construction (create + necessary)...

These guys are motivated, they know that we cannot do it without them. I absolutely love this category and have the most tremendous respect for them!

The next step is purpose. Now this is a tricky one because the job can be non-creating and unnecessary, yet you can find purpose in it, and this is what corporate gurus and organisations are banking on!

All those jobs, like ticket sellers, cashiers, baristas, or receptionists, to name a few, are not motivational because they are non-creational and not necessary.

So, how do we motivate people in jobs they know are purposeless?

We give them a purpose! Yay! Starbucks asks employees to connect with their mission, so their purpose is: "To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time."

OMG! You are selling coffee! Could we just say this to employees instead? Guys, I want you to sell the best coffee efficiently, and with the greatest attitude so customers will come back, we make more profit, we get to create more jobs, and you get to keep yours. This is the purpose of the business. Do that perfectly well for eight hours, then go home and enjoy life outside of work! Find your purpose outside of work! Build a life outside of work! Go and be happy outside of work! If you can do that, you will be happy and content coming to work regardless of the job.

Is there a more significant motivator than building a life? That's what the boomers and Gen X have been doing, and look at them—quietly getting on with lives. They never needed a corporate vision to stay motivated. They always had their vision & motivation. They were building/creating their lives outside of work.

We push people the corporate vision and mission because we know their job lacks everything that motivates people at work. So why don't we give them something that inspires them outside of work?

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