Originally Published June 18, 2020 by Jacqueline Jaffe – on the Duke Engage Blog
Dan Ariely’s Ted Talk “What makes us feel good about our work?” speaks to the value of motivation, effort, and acknowledgement when creating a product. This product could be something tangible, like a construction worker who built a house, or a student who wrote a 20-page paper. Or, the product could be the hours of mental labor you put into a passion, idea, or organization. However, without the right motivation, the work we put into something can lack substantial effort. We may be simply doing something just to get it done, and move on once the task is completed. This can cause the product to be poor in quality, as well as leave us feeling indifferent to the work we’ve done. In order to create something we are proud of, the effort must be put in. For example, I had a 15-page final paper due for my public policy course on ocean management last semester. I spent countless hours researching, writing, and refining my paper to meet the expectations of my professors. After submitting it, I was so proud of the work I put in and eager to share what I learned from my research with my friends and family.
This same reward I get from putting effort into my schoolwork is replicated in my DukeEngage project with Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe. I am so passionate about the organization’s mission, in which ARDC leads humane education programs to prevent animals from ending up in shelters and encourage responsible animal care. As a huge animal lover, it is easy for me to feel motivated in the work that I do. At the same time, I am proud of everything I’ve created so far – like expanding the organization’s Facebook Shop profile, creating product descriptions to increase merchandise sales, and launching fun and creative social media campaigns. I know that this work is making a difference in so many pets’ and owners’ lives. My work is also acknowledged by my supervisor, CEO and Founder Aaron Fisher, who I maintain constant communication with. Aaron gives me feedback on everything I submit, which makes me feel supported and as though I am an important contributor to ARDC. As a result, I have become more motivated to put effort into everything that I do. Overall, I am excited to continue to work hard and invest myself in ARDC’s incredible projects and pursuits.