I have a confession. I have a lot of gray hair. I mean A LOT. I get my hair cut every two weeks so that gray wires don’t stick out from the side of my head. In the morning when I have some fresh product in my hair it is disguised, but towards the end of the work day those little bastards always make an appearance. I have no doubt that my life as an entrepreneur has accelerated this process.
It is stressful running a company. There are constant ups and downs. Team members, clients and luck come and go. I never stop thinking about work. Ever.
I could probably have an easier life. I could probably punch a clock at some big organization, flying under the radar and collecting a paycheck. I could probably have long brown hair, sleep 8 hours a day and take up origami. But I don’t.
I Love My Job
I don’t know how to make a paper unicorn because despite all the challenges I love my job. I love the brilliant, zany, completely unpredictable people I work with. I love creating solutions to problems. I love putting smiles on customer’s faces. I love the constantly changing technology landscape. Yes, it is stressful. But it is stressful because I care so much. I care about the people. I care about the products. I want everything to be perfect. I think about it constantly because I am so excited by the potential.
You Gotta Love It Too
A few months ago I did something pretty radical. I gathered every IZEA team member in a room and made a simple proposition – If your heart isn’t at IZEA and your not going to bust your butt for your fellow team members I will cut you a check and you can graciously bow out. A few team members took the offer. While I was sad to see them go I believe it was a good move for each of us. We left on good terms, and while were weren’t a perfect match long term, they cared enough to wrap things up in the right way. I wish them the best, I want them to find the job that truly inspires and excites them each day.
That was the start of my love it or leave it management policy. From hiring to retention I am trying to surround myself with people that are passionate about the organization and their role in it. They may not like every aspect of their job throughout the day, but at the end of the day they need to love what they do. They need to see the vision, care about their fellow team mates and bend over backwards to satisfy customers. It should be personal. It should mean something beyond a paycheck.
Life is Too Short
This is as much about life as it is about business. Yes, people that are passionate about their jobs tend to perform those jobs better. From a management perspective it makes sense. But on a higher level I believe everyone should seek what they truly enjoy. If you collect a big paycheck but feel no passion what is the point? You will never reach your true potential if you are motivated by money alone.
Your job should pull at your heart strings. It should make you want to do better, to be a better person. It should keep you up at night with excitement (and concern when appropriate). It should bother you when you screw something up. If it doesn’t you should step back, evaluate, and see what is missing. You may be able to find or rekindle that passion at your current organization. Perhaps your boss or another co-worker can help you make the connection.
…or maybe not.
If not you should do yourself, your co-workers and your company a favor and graciously move on. Life is too short for all of us.