We started this blog to document our processes, failures, successes, and beliefs as a company to help share our story. But, we also want to share more personal experiences as well. We’ve had a journey and we want to share it with those who may find it interesting. This is a post about the latter.
A few years ago I held a belief that I now know to be incorrect. I had just started a new job with a startup company that offered software and services for the healthcare industry. But that wasn’t the thing that attracted me to the position. It was the people. So many talented people worked there, several of which were my close friends. On top of that, it was going to be challenging work with a good salary. It was my first career job where I truly liked and respected the people I worked with. I believed that working with great people would keep me happy.
I stretched myself as a developer and gained many new skills. I learned new ways to deal with performance issues and work around framework constraints. I learned the value and importance of code reviews and having continuous integration testing. Most importantly, though, I learned how to work with really smart people to develop a large product. All of this new learning was very exciting.
But with time, that excitement faded. I would wake up each morning wondering how I was going to muster up the energy to work on a product I ultimately didn’t care much about. I would wonder if someone would find out that I wasn’t working hard enough. That lead to guilt. Lots of guilt. I felt guilty that I didn’t care about my work as much as I should, and felt guilty because I wasn’t investing enough of myself into the company. Additionally, I was being paid well and complaining about my job, while some of my friends were just trying to scrape by. I wasn’t even willing to be honest with myself about why I was feeling this way. I thought there was something wrong with me. Why couldn’t I be happy with a great job making a good salary? Can’t I just suck it up, play it safe, and live comfortably? I was miserable, and probably pretty miserable to be around.
But as Jordan and I worked many long nights and weekends on what would eventually become Press, I began to understand exactly what I was missing in my day job. Passion. It seems obvious now, but I’d never had the opportunity before to create something that I truly cared about. I didn’t realize that passion was the missing piece that would give me energy and spark the creativity that I’d been hoping for.
Working with great people satisfied my hunger to work hard on a good product for a couple years. But eventually that faded, and my personal desire for something more had been suppressed too long. I still believe working with great and talented people is a key component of doing something successful. Without passion, though, it took me down a dead-end road. In fact, I allowed the presence of guilt and complete absence of passion in my 9-to-5 to affect other areas of my life in negative ways. And I’m still trying to pick up some of those pieces.
I have a massive amount of respect for Jordan, I trust his opinion, and we work extremely well together. But, it’s our love for creating great products that people will enjoy that elevates our focus and energy to a much higher level. We’re not afraid to challenge each other and strive for something better, and we have fun doing it.
Now, waking up in the morning with a clear conscience and the excitement to tackle the day is an amazing feeling. I feel really lucky to be doing something that I love, especially knowing that a lot of people never get the chance. This past year I’ve learned a lot. I have a better idea of who I am and what I want to be doing. I’m sure I will reach more difficult crossroads in time, and when I do, I want to acknowledge them and be more honest with myself. I want to learn and grow. And I bet I’ll end up a better person for it. That sounds pretty great to me.