My Life’s Work

23 09 2010

Several years ago, I worked as a corporate sous chef for a small group of restaurants.  People are always shocked to hear this, because I don’t really love to cook today.  Well the truth is, it wasn’t the cooking that I loved at all.  It was that every day, I walked into work, knowing I was probably going to get burned, cut, dehydrated, and exhausted – but that it was me against the world when I was in there.  I worked my heart out and it showed on the plates of food.  I was determined to be faster and better than anyone else (chef’s can get a little cocky about these things) and at times I was.  I knew I was not going to be a chef in the longterm (I don’t smoke cigarettes and I lost about 25 lbs working there) but the passion of the work and the feeling of satisfaction as we finished a crazy dinner service made me the happiest guy around.

For years after that experience, I looked for something else to fill that void.  My advertising job definitely did NOT.  But when I met Bill Clerico and Rich Aberman of WePay earlier this year and heard their story, I was blown away.  Here were two guys, taking on the world of payments!  They worked endless hours, with no certain payout in the future, but they did it together (with their dog Randy, of course).  They stared the very real possibility of failure in the face and went for it anyway.  They work at a Startup – and now I want to as well.

I think too many of us avoid failure like the plague – I see it at business school every day.  We make safe powerpoint slides on a safe topic and pursue safe jobs in stable industries.  Me, I need some risk involved to stay motivated.  Not only do I want to “succeed” – I want to be great.

So I guess the title of the post is a bit of a misnomer – I don’t know what my life’s work is going to look like when I’m done.  But I know what it won’t look like: I won’t be taking a boring yet steady job this May in the hopes of working up to VP of Sales when I’m 60 and retiring at 65.  I’m going to make some waves while I’m here.  So if you are looking for someone who wants to ROCK, come find me.  

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