As soon as you saw the title, you must have thought of it to be a cliché.
I’ve heard and seen both sides of the argument.
One side contends that if you have to spend 8-10 hours doing something, you might as well love it. Or, to rephrase, find something that you love to do and make that your profession. And then, (in the often quoted, but tiresome words) – you don’t have to work a single day in your life!
The other side says that we have two defined modes – work, and not-work.
Work is what pays our bills, earns us money, helps us lead a comfortable life (or make ends meet, depending on where you are and what you do).
Not-work is where you spend time with family, with yourself, and do the things you really love to do – hiking, cooking, reading, playing music etc.
Let’s not get too emotional about work, since it is a task, for which you get paid, and if not paid well enough, you find another place that can pay you the amount that makes you happy. Unless you are the owner (like me), in which case, one would have to grin and bear it, or shut shop and try to open another.
There is another kind – one that wants to believe that they love work. Actually, they are a subset of those who want others to believe that they love the work given to them.
If you haven’t been on LinkedIn lately, it can be confusing. But if you have, then it is clear as crystal. People joining new workplaces that try their best to look and sound cool, give (sometimes outlandish) perks such as billiards tables and spas, and in general, speak about ‘one happy family’…That is, until you pack up and leave (or are let go), and go to be part of another family…
Like I saw a video of three guys dancing at 4 am in office – they had run some lines of code and were celebrating. Or happy team pictures, of course, until appraisal day.
Or when LinkedIn gave all their employees a week off. At the same time. Nice. Until you hear of the horror stories and long hours of work through the rest of the year.
Well, I am not here to tell you what I think about all of this. It is for you to decide.
I am just here to share my experiences.
Am fortunate enough to be working on things that I genuinely feel excited about, and so I can tell you about that feeling.
The knowledge economy isn’t a 9-5 anymore. It never was. That was an archaic concept that carried on from the factory-based economy of the 20th century, and nobody bothered to tinker with it. But today is different.
And I am feeling that difference, because our team transited to the knowledge-based economy mode of working over a year back. Where we decide when to start and end work, where we decide our off-days based on whether we feel charged enough to work, where employees and bosses work on one level, collaborating, discovering and providing services that we genuinely care about.
We have many offices, and we have none. We work ten hours a day, and we work for zero days a week. We are all online, and we are all next to each other.
We serve more clients than ever before, but our work pressure has decreased. We are fortunate enough to choose who we work with, and client satisfaction levels are at their peak. We haven’t reduced our fee, but justified every penny (or dirham) of it.
Every project that we take up brings to us a certain level of curiosity and learning – of knowing something new and creating something from scratch. Even our marketing videos and podcasts break barriers in our line of business – we lead the industry when it comes to communication.
Our response times are close to instantaneous, yet, we do not feel the lack of time.
When I look back at all of this, I realize – how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to do what we want to do, and to love it as well. Loving what you do is not as easy as wanting to – but also being in the right place, at the right time, and in the right frame of mind.
And one has to keep learning. A constant process. One has to keep reading, keep tinkering with new tech, with new products, thinking of ways in which to make them better…
There is no right way, or a checklist-based approach to get all of this done. It just happens. But when it does, the feeling is internal. No smiles on photos, or love letters to LinkedIn families can come close.
You just know…