I’m curious about this: a lot of my friends and I have said the phrase
“you should do what you love” to one degree or another, or “do what you
truly love”, or perhaps “you should love what you do”, which I
believe to be a “do what you know” sentiment (so I would always do what I
know better). Sometimes I don’t even have to say anything. I just see the
love in the doing. It’s one of the most powerful driving forces in the
world, and when I don’t feel it in my work, my work becomes the thing
that I am not.
I hope none of my answers here inspire you to go forth and love what you do.
But I’m curious what you love, and why you love it. It could be a single
thing, or it could be many. You love to sing and play an instrument, but you
wish it weren’t so loud or so loud that it makes you feel nauseous. What
I used to love to play piano, but it got to the point where I could only
play one chord at a time, and my parents would go to my house and take my
Piano out of my hands, because it was too dangerous to leave it in there.
Then I came to love playing trumpet, because I could make my band play all
over the place during a performance, and because I could play in front of
people who are paying $80,000 a year, while I could play on the same
instrument for free.
That’s why I have my blog. I wanted to post something I love, something I
could show anyone for the cost of one post, or less the cost of one post,
and maybe it’ll inspire you to do the same.
Thanks, and I’ll do the same. Cheers to being your friend.
I had that moment, a few years ago, when I had a big job change (we’re
looking at it now, after a 2.5 year break) where my boss made me take a week
off to do something fun with the team, and I thought I had better not
compromise on that one, because I was about to start another big change of
It was a good week – my first real fun week since my wife took our first kid
over a year ago. We went to New Orleans, to see what we could learn from other
groups doing similar things. We talked about stuff outside the work place,
and some we didn’t talk about, which I really enjoyed. I was a little bit
stuck with my new boss (which was fine – we worked on a new product together,
and we had a few things in common), and I did think about him, but I was
focused on doing my work, and didn’t give him the chance to make a bad
impression on me.
In the end, I got a good thing out of it – I learned new stuff I would have
missed if I went home, which helped me in my role as a tech lead. We also
laughed a lot.
However, I had a lot of self-doubt the whole time. Not sure what was going to
happen, but I didn’t want to let him know how much that week was helping me –
I thought he was going to do something really shitty to me, and I had to
accept that there was just no way to make him realize that what I was doing
was awesome, and that if he really did try to do something really shitty to
me that that’s what would happen. And I don’t think even an awesome week can
buy the self-doubt that you think is in the back of your head, which starts to
be the thing you always think is so terrible, and is always thinking about
I also had a bunch of anxiety throughout the week (I had moved the night before
and wasn’t ready), because I realized I was going to have to work a lot of
times with very little sleep, and I was also going to have little time with
my family, who really needed to know that I was happy with my work, and that
I wasn’t going to come home and be miserable. I know I’m not the only one
with a lot of anxiety for work. Some of us start working from home so we
don’t have to go into a building every day, and we have to be in front of the
computer from 8am to 5pm for a work day. So we may be a little bit on edge
all the time.
In the end (I’ve talked about this before, and I’m sure some people read it
and say, “So what? You’re not the only one. Everyone is like that,
especially the ones outside of Silicon Valley who work crazy hours. How
dare you ask them to cut out their social life and do tech work all day
when it’s so important for their success?” That’s the thing. That line
sounds perfectly reasonable to me, but I don’t agree with it.
I don’t think this question is directed to you, but I think it’s about a lot
of people. I’m pretty sure the last 4 times you’ve written something here,
you’ve either said, or written about, some part of this. And I’m pretty sure
you’re not the only one.
So how would you answer this?
I think lots of us have anxiety that we worry that someone is going to fire
us or not like the work we’re doing. I think that we all have that. We hope
it won’t, we want it to, we need it to. There are people who I think just
don’t have a sense of what would be the right thing to do. For example, I
guess I got laid off from my last job, and it was an awful feeling. It was
because I wasn’t sure that I could make my own company work. I feel like I
can’t blame the company, because I made a lot of bad decisions in the past,
but I made the same mistakes in the past at the same place and I think it
would be better to not have that in the past. So I don’t want it in my past
and it’s hard for me to feel excited about it. Also, I had a feeling that I
couldn’t keep going and I wanted to quit because it was making me miserable,
and I’d been working for so many years and I’d been working at that place for
a long time, and I wanted to walk away from that.
I also feel like a lot of people spend a lot of time working towards a
personal happiness that they may not have gotten. They work on it, and they
feel like it’s not the end of the world if they don’t have it at work. It’s
not a bad thing to be happy at work, but it is bad if you have a lot of
work to do to be happy at work. (I feel like that is a constant battle in
my life, so I don’t think I want to be that person)