What Is Your Motivation To Seek New Employment?

One of my LinkedIn contacts, Marianna Fichtenholtz, asked me a question on LinkedIn that I’ve thought about for the last week:

If you were a job seeker, how would you answer the following question:

What is your primary motivation to seek new employment?

My first thought was “to make money again.”  When I was a job seeker it was not by choice, and my funds were drying up.

But all week I’ve batted this around, and come up with a few other ideas:

  • To make MORE money. Some companies or titles or jobs or career paths or industries might offer me more money if I switch.
  • Because I’m done here. An executive might have accomplished what he/she came to do, or in my case, there wasn’t anything more to learn (which was the reason I transitioned out of one of my first jobs).  If you’ve reached “the end,” and you’ll know it before you get there, then perhaps it’s time to look.
  • To find something more secure. JibberJobber users are pretty savvy – they realize nothing is totally “secure,” but some things can be more secure that what they have now.
  • To find something more aligned with your values. Whether your values are aligned with tree huggers, liberals, conservatives, ultra-conservatives… if the company you work for isn’t congruent or tolerant or conducive to your values, you might find it taxing to go to work each day.
  • To escape HELL. Been there.  Done that.  It’s better to move on than stay.
  • To do something with a purpose. In one company I did cool stuff but the company wasn’t necessarily doing anything life-changing in the world.  I didn’t think I’d care, but when I started JibberJobber and really started affecting individuals lives, WOW, I’m hooked on having a job that has a purpose.

Let me throw this out to you – what is (or has been) YOUR primary motivation to seek new employment?

5 thoughts on “What Is Your Motivation To Seek New Employment?”

  1. Sometimes you can see a company committing suicide in slow motion, and you want to leave so you don’t go down with the ship.

    At one time, I worked for a company which was the #2 computer company in the world with world’s largest private computer network. Our marketing slogan was “the network at work” – ironical when you look at the Internet today!

    But when the market “zigged” top management wasn’t paying attention. So we zagged, away from the market, gradually losing customers and major accounts, and the company disappeared before the end of the 1990’s, probably shedding nearly 100,000 employees (world-wide) by the time what was left was bought by HP. It was both sad and frustrating to watch and know that the company was going to disappear. I was happy to leave to get away from the destruction.

  2. I ask my clients that on purpose, I need to know what their goal, their target, their dream job is… and I tell them they can tell me anything and I will coach them what not to say to a prospective employer. We have to know why we want change and what we want to change before we can effectively change anything. Many people hold themselves back from where they really want to go out of fear and stick to the same thing even knowing they hate it. My goal is to raise the question, open their eyes, and let them think of possibilities not same olds… And you, my friend, have raised the bar on what you can do when life hands you a lemon!

  3. Jason – your contact Marianna posed a great question that has been floating around in my head lately as well. Worldly unwritten tradition says, “Men do not stop to ask for directions” right?

    That is exactly what this question is posing. What direction are you going. I appreciate Julie Walraven’s comment above, that is a great purpose driven question. If someone asked you for directions to the local convenient and you started rattling off random directions and streets and cities, turn left at the second light and then cross the bridge, blah, blah, blah…it would not be insightful or helpful whatsoever. In fact, right before you put the pedal to the metal you might ask the person to grab that mysterious $100 bill in front of your car. I am doing a fun series of how to answer interview questions on my blog, this question would be a good one to highlight in the future.

    Good model that you unconsciously demonstrated above, make a list of the reason and whatever you choose be clear and concise in your response. If it is in an interview, then why not tailor the response somewhat to the position you are applying for. That is what we see in the “objectives” line of the resume right?


  4. Ah, the job seeker’s Vision Statement. Mine was: “To find a job where I can continue to not only make an adequate wage for my efforts and qualifications, but also feel proud of and challenged by my work, and team up with a group of people I can respect.”

    Being offered pay (and benefits) below market would tell me that a potential employer does not value or respect my work, but beyond that I was not looking to make lots of money. I wanted a place that offered a good variety of challenging work and a healthy cooperative atmosphere.

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