The key to a happy working life is finding a job that rewards you in the way that makes you feel valued and worthwhile. In a romantic partnership it’s important to be sure you both speak the same ‘love language’ – that you both show affection and appreciation in a way you mutually understand. It’s possible for two people to be deeply in love but simply fail to communicate, leading to frustration and even the relationship ending. Similarly, if you’re expecting one kind of reward but your business simply doesn’t talk that language, then you’re going to find yourself frustrated, unfulfilled and developing a fractious relationship with your managers.
Knowing what makes you happy is vital, as when you know the sort of reward that motivates you, you can enter into negotiations with more confidence. Whether it’s an initial interview, a yearly catch up or a meeting with a manager you’ve scheduled you’ll go in with a clear idea of what you want, the value of it and the benefits it will bring to the company.
For some people, their best motivation is doing a job that makes a real difference, from medicine, social work or even criminal justice jobs. This means that every day you can see the difference you make to people’s lives, and linking the effort you put in to clearly discernible outcomes helps to overcome the inertia that can bring your motivation to a stop.
If you’re not working in such a practical environment, you’ll need to decide what really motivates you and go in to negotiate for it. Remember, there’s no one answer that’s good for everyone. Your prime motivator is what fits best into your life as it currently stands. Working from home could be ideal for you, if you’re trying to combine work with caring for someone, be they a child or an elderly relative. It’s also attractive if you want to avoid a difficult commute! The attractive side of this deal for management is that this doesn’t cost them anything: it’s essentially a free concession. What you have to do is prove that you can still meet your work commitments – or even exceed your usual output!
Other possible rewards you can negotiate for are increased pay or bonuses, if you’re more motivated by money. This takes more of argument. You’re asking for more resources from a doubtless stretched department, but it’s not impossible. Knowing your value is vital: comparing your salary with the marketplace is a useful tool, as being able to say you know you’re underpaid with authority is very persuasive.