Stop me if you’ve heard this before — “I started XXX because I hated my job, and I wanted to do XXX”. Or “I hate my job. How can I start a startup/business?”
I have never really understood these arguments. They may have their own merits, I am not sure. But I for one, just don’t see it. Actually every time I hear this, the only thought in my head is —
It’s great that you have started up on your own, or that you want to start. But how is it related to you hating your job? More importantly, why did you get in a job that you hated? If you hate your job, why aren’t you finding one that you would love?
Is it possible that you don’t hate your job but what you’re doing on a day to day basis? That you’re still figuring out what is it that you want to do in life? How do you want to shape things forward. What is it that you are great at, feel passionately for and what gives you that warm feeling of pleasure? Is it possible that you’re still learning the chops?
I’VE ALWAYS LOVED WHAT I WAS DOING
I loved my job! Every single one of them. Well, other than two — my first job, and another from where I moved on after 2.5 months. As far as the first job is concerned, I was doing a lot of research work. It was fun, but not fulfilling. I couldn’t really find gratification deep within while I was doing that. So, 10 months into the job, I quit. The only other job that I wasn’t in love with was when I was trading in Eurodollar futures. The market is amazing, you lose a lot of money for the company, you make some as well, but at the end of the day, depending on your company’s DNA, it could feel like you are just going through the motions. Every. Single. Day. Sure, you get paid well. Really well. But, is that enough? I figured it wasn’t, so I moved on.
Other than them, I have loved everything I have done in my professional life. I have loved conceptualizing and executing both small and big-ass marketing strategies for an e-commerce biggie. I have loved managing the brand for a tech magazine. I have loved handling the monetization strategy for a social gaming network.
Most recently I was in love with handling business processes for a communication and collaboration company. (Yes, like Slack.)
I started in, with handling marketing for one of the products and gradually moved on to setting up the entire sales team, processes, and strategy for another product. I was whatever the company needed me to be — a marketing guy, a PR guy, a content writer, a sales associate, the sales head. Whatever. We gradually increased our team size to quite a sizeable number, but I loved every day of it.
I am still in touch with guys from my previous organization. Amazing people who were working in my team. Whom I had hired. And we don’t just socialize. We talk about work, they seek my advice when they feel stuck. They know they can do so because they know I will help. They know I loved what I was doing, and I left for reasons that had got nothing to do with how I felt about them or the work or my schedule. I left to start something I believed in. Something that was drawing me towards itself. Something where I felt I’ll be able to do things differently, and that feeling — it is exciting as fuck.
I EVEN LOVED LEAVING A JOB I LOVED — TO DO NOTHING BUT TRAVEL
I took a break from work — to travel through Europe and South East Asia. One and a half years, give or take. For 18 months straight — no work, all legs. Kept on traveling and traveling. I didn’t do it because I hated my job and needed to unwind. I did it because I wanted to experience it. I did it because I wanted to do it. I did not want to wait long enough for it to feel right. It felt right and I did it.
Now, off of everything I have done — at the risk of sounding arrogant — I have been great at most of them, I have sucked or been naive at some. And that’s okay. I identified what is it that I was lacking and I fixed it.
I have been good at my job because I did what I loved to do, so every day was fun. Did I have disagreements — with my team members, my CEOs and other teams? Of course. Who wouldn’t. But it was all part of a process. And it was all amazing. I like to think that I am quite good at what I do, and one of the main reasons is because I have always done what I thought I would love to do. And not just the role. The team. The team’s vision. The senior management. How they approach things. Everything has to come together. As a result, my new experiences keep on piling up on top of my previous learnings, and they form quite a cohesive bond — making my foundation stronger.
SO WHY DID I QUIT AND START ON MY OWN?
I started up because I saw problems that I felt I could fix. I saw a huge opportunity that existed, a void waiting to be filled. I started because I could see I was the right guy to try fixing it — to make a dent here, slash a couple of things there.
I started because I wanted to do “more” of what I love to do, not because I didn’t already love what I was doing.
And that, my friends, matters a lot.
Love what you do, or try finding a place where you would. Especially if you want to start on your own some day.
Have fun! Let’s chat. Humans, bots — really doesn’t make much difference to me.