Generally, I believe there are three reasons why people are working in the places they are working. These reasons are passion, fun, or money. Now, there are most certainly cases where a person can experience all three of these things at their job. However, this is not so much about experience as it is about WHY you choose to work where you are working right now. When someone asks you why you do what you do for a living, do you have a clear “blink” response? If I ask you, “Do you like what you do,” what is your answer?

Whether you run your own company or work for someone else, it is integral to understand (in order to maintain your sanity) what your actual motivation is. If you are less than happy with where you are, determining why you are there can actually help improve your perspective or encourage you to finally make a change.

Let’s talk about the three primary reasons why people work where they do or do what they do. Which of these best applies to you?


The people who work because of their passion may say that they are answering their calling. They believe in their gut that they are doing what they are meant to do. For these people, pay is not the primary motivation. While we all need money to live, folks who work out of their passion would likely say that the money is inconsequential to them. They would continue to do their work even if they won the lottery and were set for life. These people are not clock-watchers but will work till they get done what they feel needs to get done.


Fun and passion can often overlap. If you are truly passionate about what you are doing you may also say that you have fun doing your work. However, fun can also mean that you really enjoy the culture in which you work, or you really just simply love the kind of work you do. You may not be tied to any one company or cause unless you work for yourself, but you get a high from immersing yourself in your day-to-day responsibilities. You wake up ready for a new day and may itch to get back to it over the weekend or holidays.


Many people do their jobs simply because they need the money. While it’s possible to have fun in these situations, and while it’s possible to be passionate about jobs that get the bills paid, if your primary motivation is simply getting a paycheck, you are much more likely to feel burnt out at times. If things don’t go right you may feel more put-upon rather than feeling the sense of challenge that a passionate person might feel. If the job begins to feel stale to you, money as your motivator may not be enough to keep you feeling content. You may find that it’s hard to pull yourself out of bed and that you are dragging yourself to work. The weekends may seem far too blissful and far too short.

If you are an entrepreneur, starting a business just to make money is a dangerous proposition. It’s too easy to burn out if you don’t truly believe in what you are doing. Fun and passion have much longer tails.

So, having considered these three reasons why people tend to do what they do, what is your answer? And are you happy with it? We’d love to hear your thoughts!