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I enjoy reading books on subjects that I readily admit ignorance. Take quantum physics. I sort of, kind of, more or less understand the basic concept, but what I really enjoy is the way highly intelligent people explain it to the rest of us – like Stephen Hawking (who else?).

I finally now understand, or at least I think I do, the progression from Newton to Einstein to Hawking. What Newton discovered was physics for the Earth. Einstein discovered physics for the universe. Hawking discovered physics for the atomic world, meaning the world of the microscopic atom and its constituent parts. This got me thinking about how a proper job search builds on itself, one stage at a time, just as these geniuses built on each other. Newton dealt with, among other things, gravity (which, by the way, in the quantum world does not exist – the apple does not fall to the ground, the ground rises to the apple!). Einstein, of course, dealt with light. Nothing can go faster than the speed of light. And if you approach the speed of light you actually slow down. So, to use the standard example, one identical twin leaves his sibling to take a close-to-the-speed-of-light trip to a distance galaxy. By his watch and calendar, he returns four years later. When he arrives back on Earth he discovers his sibling has died of old age. And from Hawking we learn that atoms not only cannot escape the Earth - we are breathing in the atoms of dinosaurs and, to use the most quoted example, Marilyn Monroe - but they can actually be in two places at once. That atom on the tip of your nose is also on a counter at a bank in Sydney, Australia even as you read these words. Now I am absolutely certain you are asking the question, What in the world does any of this have to do with a job search? Good question. Here’s the answer: Absolutely nothing, except as an example of what not to do in an interview. I find this stuff fascinating. I like to talk about it and to be corrected when I get the science wrong. But you are on this website to get help about getting a job. So, my writing this article is the equivalent of a candidate in an interview telling a hiring manager what he wants to tell him and not what the hiring manager wants to hear. And you don’t need to be a genius to know that the candidate who does that does not know how to listen! When you talk about what is important to you, and not what is important to the interviewer, you lose out on the job offer – whether you are on Earth, somewhere else in the universe, or if you are simply a regular run of the mill atom of which, by the way, there are 92 different types. Interview quantum physics image from Shutterstock
Learn how to land a career you love

Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.

All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.