A year ago today, it appears that this happened:
Today is a personal milestone, but its significance will be lost on all except those who've known me for an adequate amount of time. Why? This is the first time I've celebrated an anniversary at a startup. This startup, obviously, being GitHub.
Wow, a whole year. Exactly! A whole year.
- "The culture wasn't a great fit."
- "I ran into a boss that didn't respect me or my opinions."
- "The place got too corporate."
- "I have to make an appointment now to talk with the CEO?"
- "There was nothing to be motivated about."
- "All I was doing was
<insert task here>"
I was an upstart designer with a degree in entrepreneurship that wanted to go out there and conquer the world. What that means in layman's terms is that I was fatally stubborn. I still am. And I still want to conquer the world. But it was that personality that got me where I was and adaptation wasn't in my playbook. Looking back on all of that now—sure it's trivial, silly and borderline childish, but sufficient attempts at following a dream like mine are indistinguishable from a person blind to conventional responsibility. I could've shut up and lived with it, but I didn't. I suck at poker faces.
I live life under the mantra that life is too short to not be doing what you love to do. And if you can't do that at this second, you work towards it. (Look, an automatic goal.)
From the minute I parted ways with Facebook to the minute prior to getting hired by GitHub, I wanted that to be Revyver. I wanted my future and that of my (now) wife to be conquering niches all over the world with scoped products that gave them the same awesome that everybody else had been giving the same people over and over again. But I didn't think of the consequences, and as such, sustainability became extremely difficult. And I did that to us.
When we were forced out of Seattle, the sheer gravity of the situation gifted me a much needed slap across the face from reality, but it also allowed me to compromise. I learned from my history and I tamed my inner zealot. No longer did I need to entertain the vicious cycle of "doing-things–I-didn't-want-to-do-just-so-I-could-have-time-to-work-on-my-projects" and I opened myself up to the fact that the right company would work. But could somebody with my history ever find a company I could work for and not suffer the exact same repercussions?
Yes folks, there is hope, by finding a company that operates in the same way you would want your company to operate. From the very beginning, that was GitHub in a nutshell. After getting to know Chris, Tom, PJ and Scott, you would have to be blind, deaf and struck with a large bat not to grok how they operate. It made sense and more importantly it fit me. Process matters. These guys are fighting the same fight I am, and in the same way. There's an immediate motivation that comes from that. We work on what we want to work on. Even after the nostalgia wore off, the culture of camaraderie, kinsman-ship and mutual appreciation made every day of the last year awesome.
Protip: Employers, show appreciation to your employees. Not in blog posts, not in tweets. TO THEM.
While I'm writing about how working GitHub has been the best experience for me, I am in no way saying, "oh man, every other company out there sucks". Find the company for you.
If you've found it, epic. If you haven't, it exists. Find it.
What's important is that you find a company that aligns with you. Change is hard, it's human nature. Five or six digits on a paycheck can't change who you are, so work to find a place that not only respects who you are, but more importantly is who you are.
As for me, my future has GitHub in it and I'll to work to make sure that GitHub has me in theirs. I've lasted a year and I plan on lasting a lot longer. That said, I raise a glass to GitHub, the Octocat, my co-workers and everything they represent.
Thank you for tolerating this... weird personality. ;)