CareerStarterFilter: What kind of goals can I set as I begin working?
June 24, 2013 9:34 PM   Subscribe

What kind of goals do you suggest setting for someone starting his or her work life? Both concrete goals for the job and general motivations for earning money

Thankfully, after a long search since 2011, I am about to start my possibly first "real" job. I am grateful for the opportunity to make money and work, but I know having a job itself isn't the end. I also know that I am not inherently ambitious; I am a good employee, but I don't dream of getting to the top.

Personal background: My mom became a stay-at-home mom when my family moved to the U.S., and to this day she still would really like to go back to working rather than being a SAHM. My dad being the sole breadwinner has made the dynamic between them really unequal, and my dad has a lot of times used our dependency on him as a threat/ reason that whatever he says is right. My mom ties self-esteem and worth almost solely on the ability to make money; she feels that because she isn't working, her life is worth little. Along with other family factors, my parents really pressured me to get a job (as I should).

They nag me less now that I'm working, but now I need to find reasons to work myself. I love making money and being more independent, and I like doing a good job and having responsibilities. However, making money for myself and knowing people who have money, yet are still so unsatisfied with their lives prompted me to ask this question: How can I make my job/ earning money more meaningful?

1) Concrete: My job is a Traffic Coordinator at a creative agency. What goals can I set to become better at this job/ project management? Where may I grow to in "5 years"/ the future? I think PM is not the type of job with an ascending trajectory, but any tips you have for doing well is great.
2) Long-term: What motivates you to earn money? It's nice to be able to spend my own money on food and clothes, but what motivates you to get through the weeks? Is it providing for your family, owning a house, car, vacations? Anything else??

I know to an extent, work absorbs time and is something that is just DONE to make up life-- I accept that and I appreciate the structure work has given to my time, as well as enabling me to do other things. But I am curious-- what kind of goals do people actually set??

To help answer this question w/ some of my current/past motivations: I looked up to role models who are young women who "have" jobs, a schedule, Outlook calendar, plan, etc-- when I was younger, it seemed glamorous. But now I know how it is. I am motivated by small treats like eating out and clothes. Someday I would like to move out and travel as well. When I am secure, I would like to donate too. Even farther in the future, I may provide for my family.

But the bottom line is, I don't have very big dreams. Could you suggest some goals/motivation for working/ earning money? Thanks for your insights MetaFilter!
posted by ichomp to Work & Money (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
The thing about traffic at an agency is that it is very easy to just do that forever. They need someone to do this one thing and if the agency can keep you doing it, you'll just stay at that level.

So, give yourself a deadline and think of it as an "up or out" deadline. For example, if your real dream is XYZ, you say to yourself, "I'll do traffic for X years and if I'm not doing XYZ by the end of that time, I'll quit and do something else." So, you do traffic while you angle toward XYZ.

The danger is that you do traffic while you angle toward ... more traffic.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:11 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't forget saving for your old age. You will need quite a bit of money to support yourself after your working life ends, from pension (if any) savings, inheritance, etc. Meanwhile, having 'money on the bank' will make you independent of domineering relatives.
posted by Cranberry at 11:57 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Necessity is what motivates most people to make money. You need money to shelter, clothe, and feed yourself. You are motivated to get through the week by knowing that if you didn't have a job your week would be worse because you would be hungry / evicted / living off of your savings so you won't have money for future heathcare / etc.

Also having your own money and income in the US is a kind of freedom for women because you don't end up dependant on parents or partners which allows you to flee bad sitauations and not look back.

For most people like yourself, who don't necessarily want to define thier lives by their job, they are motivated to work because the money not only funds the basics, but through saving up can also fund hobbies or travel. People are living longer and longer, so a lot of workers work in the hopes of retiring comfortably and then spending retirement pursuing leisure / hobbies / travel / etc.

For some people, having work gives them a sense of self worth or makes them feel like they are contributing positively to the world. These people would win the lottery and still find some way to work (probably not in their old job but start investing in businesses and whatnot). Others would win the lottery and never work again because they are only really working for money which is then turned into things / experiences they enjoy.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:30 AM on June 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


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