I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about his job hunt. It’s not that he doesn’t like his current job per-se, but that he feels like it isn’t offering any growth opportunities – financially or otherwise. We discussed how frustrating it is to go to a job every day and feel like you aren’t accomplishing anything important.
I know the feeling. I felt it at my job, and by all normal measures I had a very good job. Unfortunately, my advice in situations like these isn’t always the best. I can’t just say “do what I did – quit and start a company.” For many obvious reasons, that’s not sound advice for most people. Maybe they don’t want to run a business, maybe they don’t have the discipline, or maybe they aren’t at a point where they can take the financial risk. I realize I’m in the minority – most people will never get to write a blog post the day they quit their job to go run a web company. I’m very thankful that everything in my life aligned correctly so I could take the risks that I did.
Since that discussion though, I’ve continued to think about my friends situation. I sort of veered off on a tangent and asked myself the question “what if their entire career continued like this?” And then I realized that for many people, that’s exactly what happens. They either stay in a job they despise or jump from job to job never quite feeling like what they’re doing is important or brings them any sort of satisfaction. It’s certainly not everyone, but it’s not no one either. It’s very sad when you think about it.
It all just makes me remember how lucky I am. Through all of the long hours, sacrifice, and stress, at least I can lay my head to rest every night knowing I am doing something that I enjoy. Everyone’s definition of “meaningful work” is undoubtedly different, but for myself, starting and growing a successful company with strong values is very meaningful.
We’re building something. Every day our company grows and gets a little better. We can see the progress not only in our bottom line, but in the feedback we get from our customers. Not to mention that the once seemingly vast warehouse that we operate out of seems to have less and less open space every time I go in. Sometime later this year, we’ll see it when we hire our first employee and someone is able to support themselves and their family with a job at Pure Adapt. How cool is that? It’s an awesome feeling to have.
And then there is the purely financial way of looking at it. When I quit my job I got paid out for my vacation days and that was it. I think it was something like $2,000 that I got. If for some reason I was to leave Pure Adapt tomorrow, I’d have my 25% stock to either cash in or keep (we have a protocol for this in our by laws, but it’s not worth getting in to). Even if things soured, I’d at least have a relatively large pay day for my hard work in growing the company. At 26 we each already have an asset that’s bigger than a decent size starter home (according to my guess as to what our company valuation will be, which is done yearly in December). It’s an asset that most people will never have. Certainly not the reason I do it, but an added perk that a regular job doesn’t offer.
Entrepreneurship – it’s not for everybody, but I’m glad it’s for me.