Surprisingly it's not a competitive salary, job security or benefits.


If I can see and feel the impact I’m having in real time, I work differently. I get a boost of energy, rally with coworkers, and take the risks necessary to apply creative solutions. Annual raises are nice and all, but if I’m adding value to the company throughout the year, I want to see a piece of that value in my bank account too.


The more I can be human while I work, the better I do. Most recently that meant taking a walk in the middle of the day to play with some farm dogs, jetting off for a date day with my husband once a month, and grinding out some extra-caffeinated hours early in the morning. If I’m stuck in a fluorescent cube with routine tasks, I disengage and phone it in.


I’ve heard a lot of promises over the years to get me in the door, but what I really want is a shot at leading that next project, a promotion to reach toward, and clear communication to ensure my professional goals are in line with where the company is going (win-win makes for maximum impact).

Next up: 5 answers to questions you didn't think to ask.