Why You Should and How You Can Become Less Money Motivated

By Chelsea Babin

Employers are hesitant to hire someone who is solely motivated by money because, they assume, you’ll always be looking for the next opportunity to jump ship in order to raise your salary or general compensation. If your number one driving force for finding a new job is money and you’re not being significantly underpaid in your current job, you may not be looking for the right reasons and you may not find a job you’re passionate about by simply chasing the dollar. Do you want to become less money motivated? Follow these steps!

1. Assess Your Work Values: Forget your salary entirely for a few moments and try to think about the other things you value in either the job you currently have or the job you want to have. Maybe it’s the opportunity to contribute ideas, maybe it’s the ability to own your own projects, maybe you want to have more freedom over setting your own schedule or maybe you want to work with only cutting-edge technologies. Make a list of the top 5 things you value in a work environment that don’t include compensation and try to let those values drive you more than your desire to earn more money.

2. Create Financial Goals: That being said, money can and should do great things for you. The money you earn at your job has the ability to not just buy you food and shelter but to also help you spend more time with your loved ones, create memorable and lasting experiences, grow your skills, build a safety net for retirement or the rest of your future, and yes, buy you things. But, if you don’t have specific financial goals, you may find yourself more money motivated than others because you’re spending on lifestyle inflation rather than putting money aside for the things you truly want and need.

3. Create Career Goals: Just like your financial goals, your career goals can help set you on a more focused, driven path and will help you decide to switch jobs because you’ve learned all you can or there’s a great opportunity for lateral movement into the industry you really want to be in, or whatever the case may be. When you have specific career goals you’ll be less money motivated but you’ll still have a career trajectory that will earn you more money in the long term because you’ll be constantly learning new skills and adding increased value to the companies you work for.

4. See Where Your Goals Align and Differ: Do your financial and career goals align completely or do they differ? Having clear goals in both categories is great but, if your financial goals require you to put away 50% of your income and your career goals involve going back to school while still working, you’ll be at an impasse. You’ll have to sacrifice one for the other and, in that time of constraint, you may look for another job simply because you need more money and not because it fits in with your goals. Make sure your career goals and financial goals align as much as possible and make adjustments if necessary.

5. Establish a Long Term Vision: Now that your goals mostly align, you’ve established a long-term vision for yourself and your future. Having this long term vision is great and, when you’re in an interview and a hiring manager asks you why you’re looking for a new job, you can explain how that job fits into your long term vision, the goals you have, and even the trajectory you see your career taking (ideally, at least). Your long term vision will also help you better answer the dreaded-but-frequnetly-asked interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

6. Have Faith in the Long Term Vision: As you build towards a long-term vision, both in your career and in your financial life, remember that a wall is built brick by brick. Even if it seems far away, it’s important that you have faith that you’ll get to where you want in your career and your financial life. Your money is there to serve your current and future self so it’s important, but if you’re sacrificing current and future happiness in the pursuit of more money, you’re really compromising your integrity and goals.

Money is important, but, at the end of the day, it isn’t the only important thing. If you take the time to follow the aforementioned steps you’ll naturally become less money motivated and you’ll become more goal oriented, more thoughtful when looking for a new job, and, most likely, happier. Plus, hiring managers will be more likely to offer you the position you really want because they’ll see that you’re not just in it for the money.