Why do I work?

Aaaah, the inevitable question. It always seems to come around to that one question. As soon as someone learns about my background with the companies I've worked with, they almost always tend to ask, "Why do you work?" It's simple. I don't. Or, at least, not in the context they are asking.

Even the most introverted person has something they enjoy in life. It might be some type of hobby, like skydiving or crossword puzzles, or it may be as simple as sleeping. In the end, we all have something. For me, the work I do is exactly that. I just happen to be compensated for it. And, almost as important is the fact that I never work with a team, or in an environment, which I do not feel 100% comfortable being a part of.

For me, software development, mentoring, leading, and business in general, have always provided that invigorating opportunity to satisfy both the creative and logical sides of my mind. I find immense pleasure in both leadership and hands-on positions. Or, to phrase it more simply, I find pleasure in helping an idea or concept come to life. Leadership positions bring pleasure in steering the ship while hands-on positions allow me to roll up my sleeves and help build it.

These are also the same qualities I look for whenever bringing on a team member. The "why" matters as much as the "how." Sure, there are folks we hire to simply "keep the lights on" and take care of the minutia we would rather not be bothered by. Those types of people have their place as much as anyone else. However, when it comes down to the people who will help build or steer the ship, for me, I want to know what pushes them towards the position they seek.

As for the team itself, whether or not I am comfortable comes down to the team as a whole. Do the members share a common goal? Do the subordinates trust the leaders? Is the team healthy finically, culturally, strategically? And, most importantly, do I fit into a role where I am able to genuinely benefit the team and feel proud of my efforts?

That last part is probably the most critical question for me overall. Do I fit into a role where I am able to genuinely benefit the team and feel proud of my efforts? It is my opinion that the reason I have been a part of so many exciting opportunities is smiply that I care more about benefitting the team then any one title or duty.

Think of the coolest company in the news today. SpaceX, maybe? Now, think of the worst position in that company (something that won't kill you, obviously). Maybe something completely thankless, like a janitorial position? If you were able to retain your current salary by taking that lowly position, would you? I know I would. Again, for me, in the end, it is more important to be a cog in the machine rather than knowing you were the biggest cog.

The bottom line is I love I do and the people I work with. And, before you ask whether or not that holds true for whatever role I may be playing when you meet me, just know this: if I did not feel that way, I would not be there. Life is simply too short to settle.