Fulfilling your contractual obligations is not a sign of a worker who is just "getting on by", it's a sign they have other interests or ventures outside of the workplace.
This is why our industry is so fucked up with this bullshit "doing overtime means you're COMMITTED" attitude.
But I also agree that in any job, no matter how mundane, if you try to learn and improve, it makes the job infinitely more bearable - though I wouldn't go so far as to say you can always make it "fun".
The article is a lesson in self-empowerment. It contains the truth that what you're doing in your employment can be even more for yourself than your employer if you adopt the necessary atitude.
He didn't say anything about not having other interests or ventures. You put that in there because of your preconceptions.
If you adopt the necessary attitude of going above and beyond for your employer it will help you out? I've found that to not be true in most cases.
Learning that atitude was something I at least partly could control in my life was very important in my overall personal development.
going above and beyond for your employer it will help you out?
Yes. You learn your limits. You make time go by more quickly by being an active participant. You develop disciplines that can help you out in many contexts. You keep your mind active by DOING things rather than just watching the clock waiting for your shift to end. You make yourself more valued which can help you get that pay raise or promotion. You establish a reputation for being solid, which makes your future job searches a hell of a lot easier.
Look, you're going to be working your job anyway. You might as well do it well, make the time go by quickly, and help yourself along the way.
Work takes up a huge portion of your life and if you can bring interest and personal growth to your job then your whole life experience will be better.
BUT money is what makes life flow outside of work. This quotation from the end is certainly true - ”If you’re doing it for the money, you’ll always be underpaid” - Scott Bell
I just don't think it's a bad thing to want to be paid more and to be finding ways to achieve that :)
The key thing, I think, is to strike a balance. And I know it's often overused but [Maslow's hierarchy of needs](http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nBko7m9CLQI/UKWSkHf-JwI/AAAAAAAAA8...) is pretty spot-on here. Once you've got to a certain level of pay, where you're making good enough money to get the things you need to survive comfortable (Safety + Security), enjoying the job takes more priority.
If you're being paid so poorly that you can't even survive, enjoying what you do isn't sustainable. But enjoying what you do might lead to better pay, for sure :)
My point here was that if you're focusing more on what you do and less on what you're being paid, then the latter should become a much easier thing to achieve.
That being said, there may be situations where you accept less money for something you enjoy more, because the satisfaction is worth it, but this isn't the same as underselling yourself.
I used to work at an organization that paid conspicuously less than local market value for comparably experienced developers.
The work environment, however, was a really pleasant one to work in. There were quarterly and annual company-wide events, such as going to local sporting events, scavenger hunts, Christmas dinners at fancy restaurants, and the like.
My boss was great and took an active interest in developing the skills of his team, and successfully tanked upper management, leaving us free to develop in peace. All the developers ate together in our own break room, usually over board games. There was a sense of camaraderie on our team you don't just find everywhere.
I loved working there; though I didn't want to, I ultimately had to leave when I started a family, got a house, and my expenses outpaced my income.
Perhaps I should have left sooner. Perhaps I was unwittingly underselling myself. However, I prefer to think of all of the above I mentioned as "non-cash" compensation.
Earning money is something you do. You may eventually fall in love with what you do (as I have, and has Kevin), but many people don't. Ever. And it's not for the lack of trying either. Some people simply can't grok certain things.
So the other option is to do the things that you love. But those things may not pay well. And so people are left with the original dilemma that Kevin posted. I have mulled about this, and came to the conclusion that I was merely very lucky that I had a job that I love.
After that I progressed to minimum wage(€8.65) and before I left I was earning €10 an hour.
Still working on improving it but it's allowed me to dynamically generate tag and category pages as well as a few other neat things. That and it's seriously lightweight.
If you are radically doing what you love for the love of doing it and you laugh about money, good for you. But don't blindly hope or subconsciously count on some miracle future success just because you loved your work so much. The people who completely bombed doing what they love(d) hardly ever share their crushing stories.
You cannot control all the things that can greatly influence your success and loving what you do won't shield you against it either. Keep that in mind. Get something out of it now, always get some sort of return for yourself and NOW, if that is "just" money and you consciously made that decision then that is ok. If it means really good connections and a technological playground you love playing/working in, then that is also ok. If it is a great opportunity to learn and grow it into a career even if the pay is horrible, well that is ok too. There are industries where this is pretty-much the norm and if you ever want to be anybody in those industries, you got to pay your dues. Luckily in IT, you are mostly shielded from that and can always expect at least not half bad compensation, given you can sit in a comfy and cool office and hit a few keys and get the chance to do 99% of your clicks over if you screwed up.