The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why TFL members work so hard Hint: It's not the money.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Why TFL members work so hard Hint: It's not the money.

Sometimes, I feel as if I live in TFL. It's my home away from home. It's where I get together with friends and discuss shared interests, learn new things I can put to immediate use, crow about successes and laugh about disasters.


I also spend hours each week, as many members do, trying to help others solve their problems and sharing what I can to enhance the pleasure others' experience from their baking. When I don't have an immediate solution to some one else's problem, I may spend hours going through my books and searching online to find one (or six). I see other TFL members doing much the same all the time.


Why do we do it?


Yesterday, Paul Solomen did a segment for the PBS News Hour on some radical thoughts regarding what motivates us to "work." Although his focus was on "work" as in what we do to earn a living, I thought it also spoke to what motivates a lot (most?) of us on TFL. I thought the part of the segment interviewing a group involved in supporting open source software was particularly relevant. 


Anyway, here's a link: PBS News Hour, April 15, 2010


Paul Solomen's segment is the 4th in this video of the entire broadcast from 4/15/10. (I wish I knew how to embed the video.)


What do you all think?


David

bnom's picture
bnom

When I click on it, I just get the top of your posting.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

bnom's picture
bnom

And, yes, I absolutely agree with the idea that people are able to tap all sorts of intelligence and energy when they feel like they are doing the work that is their's to do.  Of course, the trick is figuring out what's your's to do. And that's a discussion for another blog I suppose.

LindyD's picture
LindyD


We do things because they're interesting. We do things because we like them. We do things because we get better at them, because they contribute to the world, even if they don't have a payoff in getting a reward or satisfying some -- some biological drive.



I think that quote from Mr. Pink nicely sums up the motivation of many of the contributors here, as well as the motivation of people who volunteer in general.


I'm not so sure about the application of that philsophy in the workforce in the current economic reality.  Not all have a passion for their work and I imagine many people work first to support themselves and their familes, and second to be able to do things in their free time that they are passionate about.


The important thing is to have something positive in your life that you love to do and share.


BTW, I don't agree with many of Professor Schwartz's conclusions.  

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


The important thing is to have something positive in your life that you love to do and share.



I think it's very sad so many do not have this. At the other end of the spectrum are those who are fortunate enough to be able to "support themselves and their families" by doing "things ... they are passionate about." I count myself among the fortunate.


And now, we return to our regularly scheduled programming ... That's baking, isn't it? ;-)


David



davidg618's picture
davidg618

Here I disagree whole-heartedly. I believe creativity, generally attributed to "right-brain" activity is a biological drive, and its reward is intrinsic, i.e. the reward is the act itself, manifested in the product, e.g., "the perfect baguette". I would argue that most hobbies, and volunteer work satisfy our creative urge, often more frequently and more deeply than our paid-for work. As David points out, those of us that are paid to do what we love to do are especially blessed.


BTW, I also believe both halves of our brains, working together, make our manifestations reality. The right brain doesn't do it alone.


David G

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I work with a doctor in his eary 50's. He seems almost proud to say that he's worked so hard in his lifetime that he literally does not have any other hobbies or interests. He doesn't even know what he likes to do outside of work. I talk about baking, gardening, training and showing my dogs, my horses and he's befuddled. He has no idea what he's missing in life. He works 25-12 hour shifts a month, single, and doesn't even really need the money. He simply doesn't know what else to do. He's worried with the shift cuts over the summer. He doesn't know what to do with his free time.


I told him I could teach him how to bake bread but he doesn't really even know how to boil water. That would probably be a losing proposition.


I believe, like David G, that both halves of the brain working together can produce amazing results. The creative brain working in tandem with the scientific and analytical can be a powerful mind indeed. This is why I see genius in my engineer husband when he decides to problem solve. He uses creativity and analysis to solve unsolvable problems!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

If your Doctor can read (and he can), he can boil water or learn to bake, following good instructions. He may enjoy work so much that he doesn't need another outlet. Hopefully, he enjoys talking to patients, problem solving and helping people so much that he his happy. 

Working so hard and being unhappy would be sad. 

proth5's picture
proth5

You know I can't help myself on this kind of topic.  I really do deal with it more than one might think.


What I can't help but observing is that the analysis of Wall Street behavior was so totally off base.  These people made immense amounts of money - more than they could spend in a lifetime.  It isn't the money. They are in it to "win the game" - and it doesn't matter what the game is.  The fact that money is used as the measure by which they know they have won clouds the analysis - winnng is everything.  Don't ask me how I know this, but I know this.  I know it like I know that equal weights of flour and water is 100% hydration.  When winning is absolutely everything, values tend to go awry.


I'm also not fond of analyses that minimze the fact that people work for money to survive - or money to fuel other goals.  No one who has been really, really poor and used their talents and hard work to work their way out of it will ever casually say "Of course you need to earn enough to live."  It is not a casual phrase.


The best of the human spirit is revealed when we are compensated in meaningful and sufficient ways for our efforts.  It could be the recognition that we are knowledgable (although we are nothing without our spell checker...) - it could be the satisfaction that our efforts make the world a better place, it could be that we can have pretty good fun at our jobs and use the monetary compensation to not only create a good life for ourselves, but for others.  Some folks have a temperament where they need little in the material world and are insanely happy doing jobs where the monetary compensation is small.  Some have the great good fortune to truely love jobs where the monetary compensation is large.  What I consider is that those with great good fortune need to remember that although their efforts powered much of their lives, kharma can be a bear.  I think about that.


I like my work pretty well, but cut my pay low enough and I will not do it.  The instant I stop being paid, I will stop this work I do.  I will not stop thinking about the discipline, but I will stop the work.  It is too difficult and I have spent too much money and effort preparing to do it. I don't care how "good" the work makes me feel - I still need some cash flow to live.  However, if my primary concern was how to scrtach a living from the bit of earth that I own or to work enough at a low wage to get enough for food and shelter, I wouldn't have time to sit about posting on TFL, so the audience to which you are addressing this is somewhat skewed.  On the flip side - no amount of money can compensate me for not being true to myself.  Again, don't ask me how I know, but I do - I have been put to that test, and I know what I did.   We can put in the work here (or elsewhere) for free because we are of sufficient means (whatever that may represent) to fill our material needs. (I'm sorry, but people who have the ability to take care of their own needs, but decide rather to neglect those needs and constantly do things for free, need to - how do I put it? - get help.)  Then we do things that bring us pleasure. What is amazing is the variety of ways in which people get pleasure.


I am in awe however of the folks who can convince themselves that this thinking is original enough to get a book published.  It's like the mix/proof/bake bread.  My tiny mind would never consider that this was something to write another book about - after all - it had already been done. (After all, the above is all in the writings of Peter Drucker)


Which is why I'll never be a great marketer.  Ah well.  I still get great satisfaction from seeing a lot of bread proofing.


Which I hope to see soon...

Nim's picture
Nim

I have to agree with you, Proth5. I have nothing to add, either!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

This is a personal reflection so I can only relate on a personal basis. I'm sure every other person has their own take on why this community is so well supported by members helping members.


I think in my own case, many years ago, I discovered I had an ability to communicate with others on a personal basis. Not just conversationally but, informatively. It started when I was a young man in the Boy Scouts I think. I learned about leadership and training. As soon as I learned enough about archery and sailing, I became a mentor for other young boys who showed an interest. Later in life I learned to fly and became a flight instructor. Everything I can fly (all aircraft except balloons), I am also certified to teach in. Aviation is a career that is so much fun, it's almost embarrassing to get paid for it. I really enjoyed my work and I trained a lot of pilots along the way.


The same pattern of sharing my knowledge has been a part of my life in everything I have done. I used to offer my computer clients the chance to have their children build a computer and learn the inner workings of a home computer. The afternoon we spent together building has launched many a computer related engineers and professional degrees. I'm really proud of that.


So it isn't any surprise that after I became a proficient home baker I would enjoy helping others do the same. I don't see it as hard work although it does take time. For me, it is a pleasure of life to be able to demystify something for another person with my words.


And Pat (proth5), I'm totally with you on spell check. If I were limited to using only the words I can spell correctly while typing in haste, my posts would be far shorter, lol.


Eric

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Well, I'm not against them, but stealing a quote from Mark Twian,


"I never trusted a man that could only spell a word one way"


David G

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi


Every one of you people who has made a contribution to this thread has given a varied reason for belonging to the TFL community.


Thank you to all of you, for what you bring to the party.


It is, afterall, about the giving and the taking part [not taking]!


I thoroughly enjoy spending time with all of you for that reason.


That's why this is a "hobby" site; money doesn't matter; but, good bread certainly does!


Andy

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

As a Harvard University Teaching Fellow in Child Development, I was introduced to the work of Robert White, Ph.D. on what he called "competence motivation." Those interested in the concept that mastery of skills is intrinsically motivating might profit from reading about Professor White's work in this area.


Here's a link to an extremely brief description, to give you a taste:


http://www.psywww.com/intropsych/ch09_motivation/competence_motivation.html


David

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Very interesting read. I can see where careful application of Dr White's concepts could help me encourage my children more effectively. A Monthly "Try something New" exercise for example.


Are there any other papers you could point us to that further discuss these concepts?


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Eric.


The article to which I'd like to refer you is available online, but only for purchase. (Free to members of the American Psychological Association. Maybe you have a friend who belongs?)


Here's an ERIC (No pun. It's the Education Resources Information Center) article that discussed White's theory regarding intelligence:


http://www.eric.ed.gov:80/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/38/38/b3.pdf


David

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Notice there is a subtle and possibly important difference between (1) seeking life activities which "play to your strengths," which is certainly natural if people want to feel competent, and (2) the enjoyment of mastering new skills described above as typical of successful entrepreneurs. These are not the same thing. If you merely seek situations that make you feel competent, you are likely to exercise old skills, and you are unlikely to advance. The people who succeeded as entrepreneurs were those who sought competency in new skills.

That explains why I wanted to learn to bake bread. I am an entrepreneur seeking competency in new skills. 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I do believe that's the first acronym with my name that wasn't made up by my military buddies! Thank you David


Eric

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I have always believed that hard work pays off. After a lifetime of dabbling in what I love to do best which is baking I have finally been able to turn it into a business which is fun for me. I take pride in my work and am rewarded by comments that people make about my baking. I was further rewarded last week when I was the only "small" person invited  to take part in next weeks University of North Dakota's Earth and Eats Wellness Expo! I still don't know how they found out about me but I am very honored to have been asked to have a booth there. My only wish is that I were 20 years younger so I would have known then what I wanted to be when I grew up!

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Thank you, David, for pointing us in this direction.  You are so right and lucky to have found a career that made you feel so rewarded.  It's so wonderful finding one's passion.  It took me a long time, as the need for money really got in the way.  I wish I were 20 years younger, as does Flourgirl, and I might have made a business outo f baking bread.  But that kind of a wish is only frustrating.  Instead, I bring loaves to my friends and am currently donating a month's worth of bread to an auction for a candidate for county D.A.  That involves money again, but with a different twist!


Joyful

Bee18's picture
Bee18

Hi to all the precedent writers about this subject.


Just 24 hours ago I wrote to DavidSny and Anada, that I would not stop doing my bread with my hands and move to the machine because it will put an end to my link with TFL which had done so much to my personnal life.


Like Eric I discovered my ability to communicate and help when I went to the Scouts in my young age, I rapidely became a leader and could teach younger than me what I already knew. Later on I work for an immigration department where I could help adult people to go through the administrative difficulties and I added to my office responsabilities a non paid service like to take the families to the port of embarkment or to welcome them at their desembarkment port when I was in the same country and help them to go through the formalities speaking multi  languages. Nobody understood why I was doing that. I did it naturally and got so much of satisfaction that I remember it until today.


It was the same when I was married and mother of 3 and we lived on a farm in a very small community, when ever I saw one of the eldery women walking with her shopping bags and I was driving my car I would stop and take her to home. Again nor my children or my friends understood the why. They always thought I was too compationate and called me Dog St. Bernard. Today although my health is not as it was I still take care of an 88 old woman who can be my mother and when ever she needs transport and help with shopping and when ever I'm free and I can do it I will. There is no money reward in it. I may even spend extra money when doing that above my time. But I feel so good, this cannot be reward by money. money has no soul, you get it you put it in your wallet and forgot about it until you use it and then it disappear you don't remember it.


Reading this article from David and the reactions that came after filled me with a great satisfaction: I'm not alone to feel this and do it. I discovered the bread making 2 years ago and spent hundreds of hours in research to undiscover the how ? but when I finally reached the TFL site I stop wandering about because I knew that I can find all the help I need given in a nice way, I can write about my success and my disasters...and get the quickest answers I ever got since I use a computer and the email system ! I even got help with my photo problem! and all that is quite anonymous as we don't really know each other and we live in different emisphere! I'm awake when others are asleep but it doesn't make any difference.


Thanks David to have put the subject on, I enjoyed to read all of the writers and envy some that can put their thoughts in such words.


Bea


 


 

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

I've been a big fan of Daniel Pink's for a while, and I can see from the rest of the thoughtful contributions that this must have been prompted by his new book, Drive.


Not for nothing do I regard my baking as my perfect source of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.


To the people who believe that "in the current state of the economy" others are working purely for the money, I would of course agree. Pink's point is that once money is off the table, as it were, other factors come into play that have a far greater impact on performance and job satisfaction. Of course, if you don't have a job things can be very, very tough. I don't want to downplay that. But managers need to realize that money simply is not the  best motivator for many people in most jobs.


It has always struck me as odd that when it comes to management, they encourage their own performance by promising money bonuses, whereas for workers (as if there's a difference) they encourage performance by screwing down rewards so that people have to increase output to stay in the same place.


Jeremy

candis's picture
candis

I am pleased and proud to be of your group. But I want more than flourgirl: 50 years younger would do me fine. best wishes to all.