What Gets You Out Of Bed And Into Your Career Each Morning?

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

This is a question I like to ask in interviews, since it usually gets a more honest response than “what are your passions,” but that is, essentially, what I’m asking.  I like to know what it is, inside, when the chips are down and things are maybe not going your way, that lights the internal fire within that gets you up, gets you motivated, and gets you out the door to your career.

Every now and then, I need to ask myself my own question.

Let’s face it, Human Resources is a profession that can be pretty thankless. Many people’s entire concept of HR will always be defined by the few professionals who give the profession a bad name, the ones who don’t learn the ins and out of their business, and are too in love with processes and procedures and tradition. When we go the extra mile, others claim the credit, but when things go south, blame is deflected our way. There are days where we become the company Cassandra, identifying stumbling blocks ahead but without, perhaps, the support needed from the company to properly prepare.

I’m sure I’m saying nothing that you don’t already know. What drives us on those days? What propels you forward, so that each year is a growth and development from the last?

Personally, I like to take a break, for a few minutes, on a rough day, and regroup. I think of the moments when I have really, truly, helped someone – when:

  • I was in a position to make life easier for a while for someone in the company who was vulnerable.
  • I was able to give someone an opportunity they may not have otherwise had.
  • I guided someone to make the right decision, despite prejudice, history, or other pressures.
  • I was able to remove obstacles from someone’s path.
  • I created a support system that wasn’t there before.
  • I gave the company a really, really good idea, and then made it happen.

These are the moments I’m proud of. I think about the ways I handled those issues and how far I’ve come.

What gets me out of bed in the morning is the thought of what’s next.

I’m excited about the possibilities, about learning more, about getting it right and becoming better at my career. I care, very much, and believe in what I’m doing. If the day comes when I don’t, I’ll find a new career. I promise. Until then, it never hurts, to remind myself of these things along the way.

How about you? What gets you out of bed in the morning? External motivators are great – who doesn’t love a paycheck, or to provide for family, of course – but what internal fire keeps you in your Human Resources career?

Note: This is my first post for Women of HR. I am so thrilled to be a part of this community.

About the Author

Kelly Tanner

Kelly Tanner, PHR is a Human Resources Director in New York City and a freelance writer. Her passion for developing organizations through responsible and innovative human capital management in small and mid-size businesses has driven both her HR and writing careers, and she is eager to see HR professionals look to what's next in the industry. You can connect with Kelly on Twitter as @NYCareer.


Kari Lonning

I’m not in HR, and am self employed – BUT, I loved the points you made and hope that you are fully appreciated by those you work with and for! (my reasons for “getting up in the morning” are more in the line of color and making the world just a little more beautiful and interesting.)

Chernee Vitello

Perfect post for today, since honestly I would have rather stayed home today. But I love being a match maker so to speak. Finding the right person to join the right company and then seeing both parties being happy! The smile at the end of the day from both my client and the person that I placed there is why I play this game!!


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