In thankless jobs like IT Support, it helps my motivation if I have something to strive for. I want a goal to look back on and feel I’ve accomplished something.

The problem with my chosen career is when I do a great job, there is nothing to show for it. When I work hard, solve problems and delight customers, I have nothing to show for it. ((Save a pile of Thank You emails.))

I have no product at the end of the day I’ve produced with my own hands. I have no sales figure I’ve hit and I’ve not made the company any money. ((In fact, IT Support is considered as a necessary evil because we don’t generate any money for the company.))

I’ve said for years my ideal day is when I come to work and sit at my desk and do nothing for 8 hours then go home. That means all the systems are working perfectly and all of our customers have completely working computers.

In the seven years I’ve done this, it hasn’t happened yet.

Because of this, it helps to have something to strive towards so I can look back at the end of a long day where I feel I accomplished nothing and say at least I did ____.

In this case, it’s the number of tickets closed.

Each morning every technician in the company receives a report of closed tickets across the company. We receive a daily closed ticket breakdown over the past two weeks. This is interesting and helps me realize why I’m so tired some days ((18 tickets! No wonder I was so sleepy by 5:30.))

But the real genius in the report comes on the following page. This page provides a leaderboard of technicians across the entire company sorted by average tickets closed per day.

This is where I draw my motivation.

Everyday, I strive to stay in the top 10 of the company. I’ve been as high as number 4 with the CSA ((Help Desk)) technicians way ahead of my with double-digit closes per day.

As it stands, I usually come in at between 6 and 7 tickets per day. This is where I draw my motivation from. I want to be at the top of that list every single morning when it comes out. I want to rank higher than every technician in my building. I want to outrank every technician in the field.

I want to be at the top of that list.

This list motivates me to get up and try to complete one more ticket per day. It causes me to work harder when all I want to do is sit at my desk.

The list pushes me forwards and provides some context for my day. This is the most important thing for me, as a technician with no clear measurement of what I spend my days doing.

This list brings meaning and a sense of accomplishment to my 45 hour work week.

In this age of knowledge workers, we no longer make products in a factory, nor do we sell a thousand products. What pushes you to work harder in your job? Have you found your own leader board to keep you working harder?