Motivation and happiness are not found in dollar signs

In this industry, long-lasting motivation lives not in a big salary, a bonus, a free lunch, or a ping-pong or pool table.  Long-lasting motivation comes from the work you do.  Every passionate programmer I’ve ever met is far more excited to tell you about an elegant solution to some technical problem they’ve spent hours agonizing over than that 10% raise she just received at her corporate coding gig.

So, I’m baffled when, time after time, code-geeks, especially the young, carefree ones that only have rent to pay and no other real responsibilities, settle for that new, yet completely uninspiring gig with the slightly larger salary and the promise of a bigger bonus.

If you fit that mold, and the difference between salary Y and salary Y * 1.05 is really the difference between a few more wild nights out on the town a year, go with the gig with the more interesting problems, with the more impassioned and driven employees, with the better software and hardware.

With that said, here are a couple recent entertaining TED talks that share the same opinion:

Dan Pink on the suprising science of motivation

Nigel Marsh on work-life balance