Everyone wants what they don’t have.
That thought, that idea is something that is always true, but not always helpful. A few years back I had a potential employer tell me “I’m buying your mind, not your time.” I feel these words are what most people dream to hear. Not only does it boost your ego but gives you the freedom we so desperately think we want. We all have visions of being in Costa Rica one day, and at a Starbucks down the road the next. Power, freedom — control, all things we clamor for in this race we call a career. Yet with all that said, today I sit at the awesome Webconnex headquarters working traditional hours, with a ping pong table at the center of the office and as happy as ever. So what made me make the change?
I did well at my old job, I did so well that I could do all the work asked of me in an instance. There was one thing missing in this company…passion. The company was an anomaly. It had a plethora of wealthy clients who, no matter what, continued to hire the firm from force of habit. We continued to usher out mediocre upon mediocre content and got paid handsomely for it. However, this business model in the long term would fail. At some point this group of wealthy executives would retire and the firm would bleed cash. This time wouldn’t come for several more years, but the writing was on the wall. I figured I would ride that wave until it slowly simmered into the ripple it was bound to become.
While riding it out, an opportunity was thrown in my lap. A colleague reached out to me saying “There is a company, I don’t know what they need, but I feel you are the right fit.” In a confused state I decided to follow through. Flash forward a few weeks I am here in an office, thats right, an office! No more PJ laden days for me. I accepted this new position that seemingly came out of nowhere. This choice wasn’t a financial decision, but quite the opposite.
This was a decision made for survival; survival of the soul.
Sometimes when someone gives you everything you think you want, you won’t get the things you need. I was given full reign of my life, yet that same freedom became a shackle. It was like floating through air, except my route was pre-determined. The reason I switched? Potential. I saw potential in this new team, the culture, the desire, the drive, and longing to make a seemingly simple product the best it could be. Some may find the switch from total freedom to more traditional office structure a downgrade, but I most certainly do not.
Think about a child at a playground. When a parent says “Child, behold a playground, go play to your hearts content” that child will have hesitation, confusion, and a subtleness to how he/she acts. Contour that to when a parent says “Behold my child a playground, stay within these confines, you are not ready for the entirety this place has to offer.” The child runs free knowing where he should and shouldn’t go.
I think freedom within limitations is what a lot of us need.
I’m not saying that there isn’t merit in having full control of one’s schedule. There will be times where I miss it. However, I would say having a community trying to work together to make a great culture and product is a better freedom than freedom alone in mediocrity.
So what shall we take away from this? Take caution to what you think you want. It takes a very unique individual to succeed solo. I would have to say I am not that person. I don’t think many of us are. So here I am, with this new community and a smile on my face. That simplicity is something I’ll hold onto. Knowing that while this is not as ‘easy’ or convenient, I am happy…in part thanks to my amazing team here at Webconnex…I am happy.