Motivation is something tricky to figure out because it is different for every single person. It’s especially tricky to figure out what motivates geeks because they are different than a non-geek. I know for most people they think that the best motivator would be money, but that actually isn’t true for a lot of people. It seems like that would be the main thing to motivate you to do a good job, but sometimes that just doesn’t motivate people in the long run. You can only give them so many raises and incentives before they get bored of it or you run out of money.
One of the best jobs I’ve had was at Ibotta Inc. in Denver over the summer. They had a lot of good incentives to keep people motivated, including happy hours, bagel Fridays, unlimited PTO, and much more. They had happy hours most Tuesdays after work where they would provide fun drinks and snacks and you could mingle with all the people that you’ve been sending assignments to all day which was super cool. They also brought in hundreds of donuts from my favorite bagel shop in Denver for all the workers which was amazing because you get awesome bagels and it made me definitely want to put in a little extra work for them. The best part I think was the unlimited PTO for the full-time employees. I didn’t get to experience this since I was only working about 25 hours a week, but everyone on the design team LOVED this. As long as you get all your work done, you can take as many vacations as you want. You can work from home whenever you want, and the only thing they ask is that you get all your projects done on time. Ibotta was incredibly good at motivating its workers with the newest technology, food, unlimited PTO, and a cool work setting. Although Ibotta had a lot of other things wrong with the company, motivation was one thing they had down pat.
In How I Met Your Mother, Barney Stinson has a lot of inspirational quotes (some that are appropriate and some that I will not be including in this blog post). The thing about Barney is that all of his motives are based on very superficial things, the main motivator being women. I love him as a character, but in real life, I think he would drive me crazy. He uses cheesy motivational quotes to convince his friends to do what he wants them to, but hey I guess it works for him.
For me, the things that motivate me most are food (no surprise there) and the fear of letting someone down. I know this isn’t the best motivator because it stems from fear, but it definitely makes me get things done on time because I know that people are depending on me. I don’t understand the kind of students in group projects that don’t do their work, because they let down the rest of the group members and that would drive me absolutely crazy. I’ve only been in maybe one or two group projects where everyone pulls their weight, and it’s usually when everyone gets assigned a role and they do that role without complaining. I honestly love having geeks in my groups because we usually get along really well and I know that they’re going to pull their weight. This is for sure a stereotype, but it’s proved to be true in my personal life: Geeks tend to get their work done on time and they do a good job on it. No matter what the motivators, it’s good to figure out what works for you.