Uni students – let’s be realistic about the jobs we work. Most of the time, they’re a bit crap. It’s easy to let your motivation fall and to get bitter about work. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I have three ideas to help you stay motivated at work.
Your Mission, how can it keep you enough motivated to get a job?
# 1 You need a mission
It is absolutely vital you have a plan for yourself. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a career plan, but you need to know what you’re doing over the next few years. If you don’t have a plan, now is the time to put one together. Start with a very rough idea (graduate, travel, job, move out) and then decide in which order it makes sense to do these things.
Why do you need a mission to get a job?
No matter what you choose to do, you’re probably going to have to get a job to achieve this. Employers like to see that you are a self-motivated and wanting to achieve something. Your end goal does not have to line up with that particular organisation. What’s important is that what you want to achieve now lines up with the business you’re applying to.
Having a mission also helps you answer the dreaded “Where do you see yourself in X years’ time?” question. Having an answer straight off the bat shows the employer you’re firing on all cylinders, which makes you a valuable candidate. However, if your goal doesn’t obviously line up with the job you’re applying to, think about how things align to the job now.
The last thing anyone wants is a precious little graduate who thinks he/she is entitled to work in their chosen field straight after graduation. The reality is – you’re not.
I spoke about my first job in an earlier post. Aside from wearing a tie, I told them of my plan to travel in about 18 months’ time. This was long enough to make it worth hiring me. It also meant they knew I was going to rock up every day and work hard for my goals. Good for them and good for me.
# 2 You need a mission
But I already have a job…
Good. Well done for doing something unpleasant now for the delayed gratification of reaching your goals. This seems to becoming rarer these days. You’re probably dragging yourself out of bed and off to work each day. This sucks – I know. But this is where your mission comes in. You have the motivation to keep going through the long hours, early mornings and drudgery of your work.
Just remember to never lose sight of your goals. It’s ok to re-schedule milestones (life can get in the way sometimes), but never just ‘give up’. That would be a waste of all the work you have done so far.
Setting Career Goals
In an interview, you will most likely get asked about your career goals, so it’s a good idea to have something in mind. A good starting point is to look at my previous blog post about thinking through what sort of job satisfies your passion. This is great for saving time in looking for a job, but it also helps in an interview. If you follow my instructions, then you will blitz this question and give the hiring manager no choice but to choose you.
# 3 You need a mission
Making the best of things.
So if you’re working a job that you don’t like, but have a plan, here are a few tips to help make things a bit better.
Have a side project: This one is my favourite idea. Have a project on the side which you are passionate about. It doesn’t need to be anything huge, just enough to give you something to look forward to in the short term.
Take a part time course: Short courses and distance education are also a great idea. It’s always important to keep you intellect stimulated. This could be a weekend seminar on something you are passionate about, or perhaps a language course. Whatever it is, stick to it: there’s nothing worse than dropping out of a passion project.
Make work fun: only boring people get bored, so if you’re stuck doing a repetitive task, make your job interesting by applying a bit of creativity to things.
Remember, not matter what you do, Keep it Simple Sunshine
p.s: do you have any other ideas on how to stay motivated and reach your goals? Share them in the comments below.