For some of you reading this, the bad news is that you’re unemployed; but the good news is that you are in complete control of finding your next job.

In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink writes about how science and the business operation paradigm are out of sync. Job seekers can learn how to better conduct their job search by embracing Pink’s theories. Pink asserts that most people are motivated by intrinsic values, which he calls Motivation 3.0. More specifically, we’re driven by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Smart companies recognise this as the way to motivate their employees.

Motivation to get back to work must come from within. Certainly earning a pay check is an extrinsic motivator, we need money to pay our bills, but what really motivates us is regaining our sense of identity and the daily routine we’ve grown accustomed to. Given that we are ultimately internally motivated, we need to take action and conduct a proper job search. Here are the steps you need to take:


The urge to direct our own lives. Pink gives Google as an example of autonomy as a motivator, where employees are given 20% of their time to work on whatever they want. This, as a result, promotes creativity; and creativity often leads to better ideas and better products.

I ask my job seekers who is rewarding or reprimanding them for working hard and smart in their job search. Similarly, who is standing over them to make sure they network, engage on LinkedIn, and write compelling résumés and cover letters? The answer is no one. They have complete autonomy in their job search—they’re in complete control of their actions. Further, job seekers can conduct their job search however they see fit. There are “rules,” but breaking some rules can lead to success, not reprisal or being fired.

For example, you’ve decided that you’ll dedicate 30 hours a week to your search, but one week you decide some downtime is more important, so you only search 20 hours that week. It’s all good…as long as you get back on track.


The desire to get better and better at something that matters. The idea is to challenge yourself to be better and willing to accept failure. Some believe they never learn without failing and given the chance to correct their mistake/s. Smart companies allow the opportunity to fail.

Job seekers must master the job search in order to be successful. Some haven’t written a résumé or been on an interview in 10, 20, even 30 years. There will be a lot of attempts and failures along the way. Many résumés will be rejected because they’re poorly written and don’t talk to the needs of each employer; many interviews won’t go well. But job seekers must not lose their resolve—when they master the process, results will start pouring in. As well, many job seekers will make attempts at networking and fail miserably the first few times, by asking people if they know of any jobs. Then they’ll master networking by first listening to others, offering help, and receiving help.


The yearning to do what we do at the service of something that is better than ourselves. What is your purpose in life? Is it to do what is simply required and receive an adequate performance review, or is your purpose to accomplish goals that grow you as an individual and, as a result, make the company better?

The job search: Without purpose, the other two elements of Motivation 3.0 are a moot point. When I ask job seekers what their purpose is, some will say getting a job; but this is not enough.

Their purpose should be getting a job they find rewarding; a job that meets their values; a job that offers them autonomy, mastery, and…purpose. Purpose closes the loop.

To those who simply say they’ll do anything, I tell them to think harder about what they really want to do. Have purpose, I’m telling them. Purpose is what truly makes us happy.

Not all job seekers will employ motivation 3.0. Instead they will go through their job search blindly and take whatever comes their way. Ultimately they will be unhappy and, thus, unproductive.

The obvious way to look for work is to take ownership of the job search and embrace the three factors of motivation. Operate your job search like smart companies that successfully motivate their employees.

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