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How To Find Work You Love

It’s possible to love your job and hate it at the same time:

On one side of the equation, there are the elements of work that, if not done right, will cause us to be dissatisfied. These are the hygiene factors: status, compensation, job security, work conditions, company policies, and supervisory practices. It matters, for example, that you don’t have a manager who manipulates you for his own purposes–or who doesn’t hold you accountable for things over which you don’t have responsibility. Bad hygiene causes dissatisfaction.

But even if you instantly improve the hygiene factors of your job, you’re not going to suddenly love it. At best, you just won’t hate it anymore. The opposite of job dissatisfaction isn’t job satisfaction, but rather an absence of job dissatisfaction. They’re not the same thing at all.

So, what are the factors that will cause us to love our jobs? Motivators.

Motivation factors include challenging work, recognition, responsibility, and personal growth. Motivation is much less about external prodding or stimulation, and much more about what’s inside of you and inside of your work.

Is money the answer?

The point isn’t that money is the root cause of professional unhappiness. It’s not. The problems start occurring when it becomes the priority over all else, when you’ve satisfied the hygiene factors but the quest remains only to make more money. Herzberg’s theory of motivation suggests you need to ask yourself a different set of questions: Is this work meaningful to me? Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement? Am I going to learn new things?

Once you get this right, the more measureable aspects of your job will fade in importance. As the saying goes; find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Excerpted from How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon.