update: dave ferguson just added this post to the work/learning blog carnival for March. check out the other contributors’ thoughts on the need for passion in our work and learning.
clark quinn hits on a key concept that i’ve lived and worked by all my life. when i was seventeen, my grandfather pulled me aside and give me a sage piece of advice.
son. you need to find something you love to do for you work, because you are going to be doing it for most of the waking hours of your life.
coming from a man who was a master carpenter who spend all of his spare time when he wasn’t working on a construction site in his home workshop, this made sense to me. fortunately, three years into my professional life, i stumbled upon the field of educational publishing and fell in love with the field of learning.
like most learning professionals i know, i love helping people learn by personally helping them either by facilitating a learning experience or mentoring them one-on-one. i also love constructing learning materials and experiences that will reach numerous people.
what it comes down to is that when my heart sings, when i feel that all my knowledge and experience can be used to advance a greater good, when i feel i’m making a difference in other peoples and my, lives then there’s very little labor in my work.
as clark also points out, as a manager and as a learning professional i’ve found that if i can fire the intrinsic motivation in those i’m working with, they end up often esceeding even their own expectations. research study after research study on employee and learner motivation show that intrinsic motivators (do i make a difference? is my work contributing to the company’s goals? will this prepare me for the future?) are much more powerful drivers than extrinsic motivators (salary, performance reviews, an A versus a B).
this is why i’ve always seen myself (see my post training vs. learning from five years ago) as a learning professional who tries to draw learners to learning versus a teacher who “makes” people learn.
so grandpa. thanks for the advice you gave me 30 years ago. i love what i do for work and work at what i love.