Procurement is a rewarding job.  You get to work in a fast-paced profession, creatively solve problems, and have a measurable impact on the success of your employer.

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Procurement is also a challenging job.  Sometimes, you feel caught in the middle of suppliers who just can’t get the right thing done and internal customers who seem impossible to please.

Procurement can wear you down over time.  “Back in the day,” people used to cruise into retirement in procurement.  Today, only the strong can survive.

So, how do you keep yourself motivated when the going gets tough?

I recommend always reminding yourself “why you do this.”

In other words, why do you choose to get out of bed and drive to work where you do?

The knee-jerk response to that question is “for the paycheck.”  But look beyond that.

What makes that paycheck worth it?

Everyone’s answer will be different.  I’ll share the things that motivate me to show up every day and do what I do.

First, it’s the love of helping others.  I spent many years in procurement departments.  I helped my employers.  I helped my subordinates.  I helped my peers.  I helped my management.  I helped my internal customers.  But I had a hunger to help as many people as possible with my work, so I left that environment to found Next Level Purchasing and teach procurement professionals in over 100 countries around the world – people just like me, doing the same work and facing the same challenges.

Second, it’s the joy of giving employment to others.  This was an unexpected benefit of being an entrepreneur.  But, now that I see what entrepreneurship can do for others, it’s pretty darn cool.  Knowing that I can provide a way for others to earn a living, to provide for their families, to prepare themselves for retirement, to treat themselves to the occasional luxury whatever that means to them…it’s heartwarming to know that one person’s ideas can result in the financial security of many others.

Finally, it’s knowing I can provide for my own family.  Sunday was Father’s Day.  On that day, I got to reflect on how lucky I am to be a dad, and an entrepreneurial dad.  To know that I can raise my kids in a safe neighborhood, to know that they will have meals when they need them, to have the faith that I can some day fund their higher education so that they can pursue their potential…wow.  I know that there are plenty of children in third-world countries that don’t even have what we consider necessities for survival.  And I feel fortunate.  Not for myself so much, but for my children so that they have never known such suffering.

Talking about my kids, as a proud papa, I have to share the “Procurement Preschool” videos they did some time ago…

That’s why I go to work.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to think about what having your procurement job really does for you and your life.  It may make that supplier’s faux pas not so aggravating, that internal customer not so unreasonable, and that boss not so…bossy.

All the best to you my friends!


Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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