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Out of Our Minds
Tuesday, April 13, 2004 9:58 AM
The New Deciding Factor
Kevin Salwen on Business

At the height of the dotcom boom, with national unemployment at a skimpy 4%, companies used to talk a lot about 'winning the war for talent.' That was a pot of gold era, in which the carrot being held out in many jobs was for the huge payoff in exchange for the sacrifice of long hours and leaving the comfort of the old job. But it was a charade, as we all now recognize, alchemy really. For employees and companies both, there wasn't a lot of gold, just the sacrifice.

These days, people are starting to realize that the game isn't about money, it's about happiness. Increasingly, they are looking for jobs that feed their souls, that fuel their passions. Jobs that make you want to get out of bed in the morning. Sure, money is an angle -- we all need some of it -- but it's not the driving force it once was.

And, guess what? As the economy improves, the war for talent is coming back. But this time, the deciding factor isn't going to be money, but inspiration. Smart managements already are beginning to realize that the best and brightest of our society are going where they can be passionate, improve the world, feel great about where they work and what they do. Think about it: If you are in marketing, wouldn't you rather work at Starbucks, which just released its latest corporate social responsibility report, or at Interpublic, the parent of a string of ad agencies that just threw more than $41 million in bonuses at its executives while laying off workers, writing down investments, dealing with the SEC and battling shareholder lawsuits?

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