Why Do You Go To Work Each Day?
Julie Calmès

Why Do You Go To Work Each Day?

Julie Calmès October 25, 2018 Posted in: Blog Posts, General

We all share some common motivators for going to work each day: Putting food on the table. Paying the rent or mortgage. Traveling. Saving for the kids’ college educations. Preparing for retirement. Lately, as I watch my parents, my children and myself grow older, I’ve been pondering some of life’s larger questions. A lifelong learner, I’ve always enjoyed listening to others and gleaning what I can from their experiences. I’m fortunate to truly enjoy the work I do, so I've been curious as to what motivates my Pinnacle colleagues to get out of bed and really want to go to work each morning. Here are some of their kind and thoughtful revelations.

Managing Principal Joe Herbers says, “I really enjoy the personal interaction with our employees, clients and our prospective clients. It’s one of the reasons I went into consulting as opposed to being a ‘technocrat’ all those years ago. The other element is that I’m always learning something new every day. That gets me out of bed every morning. There’s always something new. And being the Managing Principal is something I take very seriously. I know in order to keep everything running smoothly I need to be here to take care of things. That’s important.”

Dennis Niebur is an IT Analyst and likes staying on top of the latest trends. “I like being on the cutting edge of development. Coming to work each day is never boring because I constantly learn new things in IT and programming. Things are always evolving. I solve problems and generate business intelligence for others, and my work environment and colleagues are great. It’s a fun place to be.” Carmen Villalba, an Administrative Assistant, feels, “I can come here and be myself. We’re so tightly-knit, it’s almost like family. Everyone is professional and does what they have to do, but I can go to anyone in the firm and talk with them. It’s the ‘open-door’ policy.”

“I’ve worked with a lot of great people,” says Senior Consulting Actuary Erich Brandt. “I really like my job – taking a body of data and coming up with justifiable conclusions. I also enjoy the personal relationships.” Erich plays a significant role in developing Pinnacle’s analysts. “One of the things I stress is that when they go on a client visit or to an industry event, a lot of the discussion will be on a deeper, more meaningful level. That makes for great relationships and a more satisfying experience overall.” Consulting Actuary Darcie Truttmann underscores the importance of friendship. “I like the people and have lots of good friends here. The thing about Pinnacle and consulting is that I never feel like it gets ‘stale.’ There’s always a variety of work. The firm is also very good about being flexible with work-life balance, which helps me out a lot.”

Director and Consulting Actuary Linda Brobeck likes challenges. “I like puzzles. I’m very left-brained. I’ll get on an airplane and do Sudoku. I like being given a problem to solve and at the end there’s success – that feeling of, ‘Yes! We figured it out!’ I don’t like, ‘First, do step 1. Then, do step 2. Then, do step 3.’ That’s not a puzzle. I like to feel useful and that clients or co-workers appreciate what I do – that I add value. That I’m actually helping someone. And I would always rather be busy than not.” Laura Maxwell, Senior Consulting Actuary, echoes the importance of variety and challenge throughout her workday. “You never know what you’re going to be working on, so it’s always challenging. For example, today, I worked on lawyers’ liability, then a workers’ comp proforma, then planned a meeting.”

Mike Paradiso, Associate Actuary, also appreciates the diverse range of project work. “I get to deal with a wide range of client and project types, so that allows a lot of learning very quickly. That in itself is very motivating. Having a certain level of responsibility for each of those projects, and knowing you’re being counted on to perform – that you’re being trusted to do it right – are also big factors. Leadership having that level of comfort with me to develop and create value is important to me.”

It’s always uplifting to hear peoples’ personal stories, and I sincerely appreciate my colleagues’ willingness to share their thoughts with me. Work is a significant part of our lives, and how we feel about it matters. The intrinsic motivators that resonated throughout our conversations were:

  • A sense of true belonging and inclusiveness
  • The opportunity to learn new things
  • Collaborating with or mentoring others
  • A variety of projects that match one’s strengths
  • Tackling a challenge or solving a problem
  • Feeling appreciated and valued
  • Being entrusted and empowered by leadership

What makes you look forward to going to work each day?


Julie Calmès is Pinnacle’s Manager of Marketing and Communications. Julie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in French and Social Sciences Teaching from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration in International Marketing from the ESCP Europe Business School. Julie is an international marketing and communications professional with over 29 years' experience in strategic planning, project management and creative marketing/communications design for global, multi-lingual audiences. A dual U.S.-European citizen, she has lived and worked throughout Europe, Asia and the United States.

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