What Motivates Workers — 8 Reasons

3 min readNov 30, 2020
Photo by Muhammad Faiz Zulkeflee on Unsplash

No one works in my family.

Or maybe I should be clearer.

No one works for someone else in my family.

Both my parents do business.

I’ve never considered applying for jobs is because I have no examples of what it’s like to work at one. I’ve only realized this recently.

That’s why when I talk to friends who work for people for a living, I’m always fascinated & curious to know what makes them do it.

I learnt and observed 8 possible reasons behind all of this.

Learning Environment

One very common reason is that they want to learn more from individuals who have a lot of experience.

They look up to their boss or superiors. And they feel happy being trained and educated by someone.

They want to self develop in a secure environment.


Another reason is that they choose to be very selective about what they want to do.

For example: A copywriter who works for someone wants only to write, not to worry about accounts or marketing.


Genetics play a big factor in whether you are drawn to work or do business.

Scientists have discovered that, unlike eye colour, cognitive function is not influenced by a few genes but by many. Individually, each gene has a small influence but together they account for more than half (or 50%) of the differences in cognitive function between us.

It’s possible that certain genes lead to us being drawn to different fields.


Some cultures emphasize leisure, some cultures emphasize independence, some cultures emphasize business, some cultures emphasize religion and some cultures emphasize social life.

This factors would shape how eager a person is to work or do business.


Did your parents do business? Did they encourage you to find jobs?

My parents never ever talked about finding a job to me. Maybe that’s why I never considered.

It’s not that they purposely didn’t, it’s just something not worth talking about, just like how you wouldn’t care about what’s going on in Timbuktu.

Other parents might stress the importance of having a good job or career.

During childhood, you might look up to a rich working relative or a rich businessperson relative.

Who you look up to during childhood can play a big role.


This might be the number one reason.

Workers do not want instability. There is a need for a monthly income so they know their basic necessities are taken care of.

Maybe they want to give their parents a stable paycheck.


Workers usually say that there’s too much risk in doing business.

Business people say there’s too much risk in being fired and never finding a job again.

Two different ways of looking at risk.

Decisional Confidence

Sometimes friends say that:

‘I wish I was able to start something, but I don’t think I can’


‘I’m waiting for the right business partner’

I think it’s quite strange. If someone told you there’s a hole in the ground filled with gold. You wouldn’t look for a partner to start digging or you wouldn’t wonder about your digging skills. You will just start digging.

But that’s just me. I’m sure they have their own, equally valid logic.

So I think they made a decision to not be confident. Or they simply don’t have confidence.


I’ve learnt many things from workers and their perspective.

Ultimately I believe it’s like yin and yang.

Most business people need workers and workers need business people.

By understanding the mindset of workers I can create an environment where they can thrive and succeed in.